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What is a lifeguard supposed to do when it sees a surfer get nailed by a great white shark?

Hey, Matt:

If a lifeguard all of a sudden sees a surfer just get nailed by a great white, what is lifeguard protocol? Does he have to go try to save the guy, risking becoming shark fodder as well? Or can he stay on land? What's the deal?

-- Josh, Mira Mesa

Nowhere in the lifeguard oath does it say, "I will voluntarily sacrifice my life by making dumb decisions that only offer a slim chance of helping someone else, thereby making the situation twice as bad as it was to begin with." According to Lt. Brandt Bass, San Diego's head lifeguard, rescuer safety is always the first concern. But that doesn't mean lifeguards will stand on the shore and watch you die. They have options. Boats. Helicopters. Other support personnel. If you're sinking out past heavy surf, they'll use the rip to get around the dangerous waves then come in from the back side. These tactics may take time, but they're safer for everybody.

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Hey, Matt:

If a lifeguard all of a sudden sees a surfer just get nailed by a great white, what is lifeguard protocol? Does he have to go try to save the guy, risking becoming shark fodder as well? Or can he stay on land? What's the deal?

-- Josh, Mira Mesa

Nowhere in the lifeguard oath does it say, "I will voluntarily sacrifice my life by making dumb decisions that only offer a slim chance of helping someone else, thereby making the situation twice as bad as it was to begin with." According to Lt. Brandt Bass, San Diego's head lifeguard, rescuer safety is always the first concern. But that doesn't mean lifeguards will stand on the shore and watch you die. They have options. Boats. Helicopters. Other support personnel. If you're sinking out past heavy surf, they'll use the rip to get around the dangerous waves then come in from the back side. These tactics may take time, but they're safer for everybody.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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