Re: Staffing levels may be reduced (Permanent Lifeguards), Daily Pilot April 19, 2011: The city of Newport Beach has proposed to reduce the year-round lifeguard staffing levels by about 40% (from 13 to 8 employees). As a Newport Beach homeowner, I generally appreciate the city's attempt to save money. However, I find this to be a dreadful proposal.
With fewer year-round lifeguards on patrol during the off-season, more people will drown in our city. At the current staffing levels, a tragic "off-season" drowning occurs about once a year. I can't imagine the grief the various families go through each time a drowning occurs. With a significant cut to year-round lifeguard staff, these horrible events will occur more often.
Any proposal to offset the staffing cuts by bringing in, at the last minute, seasonal lifeguards on "sunny" off-season days is flawed. The veteran year-round lifeguards are the best-qualified lifeguards to identify and spot swimmers in distress during the off-season where one lifeguard must cover a very long portion of coastline.