Although it would be nice to have lifeguards on any beach, nowadays it is not such a simple thing to accomplish. Here are some of the real issues that beach officials must be address before making such a decision. First of all, it is very expensive. With 19 miles of sugar sands on PCBeach, how would you clearly decide how many guards would be needed? Would one lifeguard per mile be enough? One per half mile? Quarter mile? Every 200 yards? Budgets would have to be determined based on this decision. Once that has been determined, finances are the next consideration. Who would pay the bill?
- How many hours per day would the lifeguards be there?
- On days when the surf is too rough, would some swimmers simply wait until the guard leaves and then go into the Gulf? Certainly that would happen.
- If a swimmer got into trouble because a lifeguard was not present, could the city/county be sued because the lifeguard was not on duty for any reasons during posted hours?
- Could someone sue if a lifeguard WAS on duty but someone drowned anyway?
- Would lifeguards have any enforcement power when they told swimmers to get out of the water but the swimmers refused?
These thoughts worth pondering. Sometimes swimmers do foolish things. There have been examples on PCBeach over the years where swimmers would actually walk around a near-drowning victim being helped by emergency personnel, and go directly into the same dangerous surf! Who would have the power to stop that swimmer? If stopped, would their constitutional rights be violated?
The truth is that although they are obviously helpful when someone gets into trouble, lifeguards cannot prevent drownings, shark attacks, jellyfish stings, etc. Simply put, there is a certain amount of risk when anyone swims on any beach in the world. Therefore, some beaches have lifeguards, others don’t. Perhaps this article has helped you see why the lifeguard issue is one that generates much discussion.