Ocean Rescue Trainings
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with more than 30 Ocean Rescue Lifeguards. As nesting season becomes busier and busier, the potential to spot nesting female sea turtles and disoriented hatchlings on the beach continues to increase. Interactions on fishing piers will likely increase as well. We are very grateful to have a partnership with these lifeguards; not only are they watching the beaches every day, they are dedicated to playing a part in marine conservation. According to their website, Palm Beach County Ocean Lifeguards protect over 3 million beachgoers every year. They perform an average of 140 rescues, 540 bathing assists, and 16,000 first aid responses annually.
On Sunday, a training was held in Lake Worth at the pool near the Ocean Rescue offices. Several lifeguards learned about sea turtle ecology and rescue, sitting on the paved deck next to the pool during their daily break for workout. I was also able to visit the Lake Worth Pier while I was in town. The anglers were friendly, telling us what they had been catching recently, and the pier staff asked for more educational sea turtle brochures and flyers to hand out to their guests. I will be delivering those materials shortly.
Two trainings were also held here at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. The Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue Lifeguards came in long before the Center’s operating hours so they could attend the workshop before they had to open the lifeguard towers for the day.
Though the type of rescue we discussed is slightly different than the rescue the lifeguards are used to, sea turtle conservation is a topic they are familiar with. Many shared stories of beachgoers bringing buckets of disoriented hatchlings to their towers or notifying them of a nest that had come uncovered after a storm. Several lifeguards have a long history with LMC. They remember when it was just a small room. Some had previously helped with sea turtle rescues and releases. A few had even met our founder, Eleanor Fletcher.
It was truly humbling to meet the Ocean Rescue Lifeguards and learn more about the selfless work they do every day. We are so fortunate that sea turtles continue to be a part of their monitoring efforts.