Vero Beach Lifeguard Association Monthly Beach Report for December 2020

Jaycee Park / Humiston Park / South Beach Park

Our Mission:

To promote lifeguarding and water safety in Vero Beach and the surrounding communities

Email:  VeroBeachLA@Yahoo.com  

Website:  www.VBLA.org

STATISTICS
Total Park Attendance45,495*
Preventative Actions705
Minor Medicals20
Major Medicals0
Rescues1
Average Water Temperature70
Beach ErosionModerate/Severe
Stinging Marine LifeModerate

*record attendance

General Conditions

December 2020 beach attendance broke the attendance record for the lowest attendance for December since VBLA started tracking beach statistics in 2011.  The previous low attendance record was set in 2019 with 51,562. The 2019 low attendance was caused by the beach re-nourishment project when a portion of the beach was closed.  In 2020, beach attendance was low because of the COVID-19 pandemic and cold temperatures.  The record for the highest December beach attendance was set in 2018 with 85,500 patrons.  Over the years, VBLA has noticed that beach patrons are spreading out along our four miles of City beach filling in the approximately one mile distance between each of the three lifeguard towers.  As a result, many of people who visit the beach are not counted in our attendance numbers.  Moderate to severe beach erosion has occurred.  The erosion has formed a fairly high ledge along most of the shoreline.  This type of erosion and ledge formation was formed because of the beach re-nourishment sand that was trucked in last year.  The beach re-nourishment sand, tides, winds and currents have deposited a significant sandbar at South Beach and sections of Jaycee Beach causing strong rip currents in certain areas during the falling tide. On a falling tide, water receding through breaks in the sandbar produces powerful currents.  At South Beach Park there is a substantial slope to the water line making it difficult for lifeguards to see patrons who are at the shoreline. Beach grooming (the removal of seaweed from the beach) is ongoing through April   Ocean water temperature has dropped to 70 degrees.  Lifeguards responded to 20 medical calls most of which were from Portuguese Man of War, minor cuts and scrapes.  Lifeguards rescued 1 person from a rip current during the month of December bringing the total number of water rescues in 2020 to 36.          

All swimmers are advised to pay close attention to beach condition signs and flags, swim near lifeguard towers and avoid swimming during non-guarded hours.

Areas of Concern

The sandbar deposited at South and Jaycee Park beaches have produced powerful rip currents especially outside the guarded areas. The slope created a South Beach Park makes it difficult for lifeguards to see the waterline.  It is strongly recommended that beach patrons talk to the lifeguards about these areas prior to getting in the water.      

Many dog owners are violating the rules for allowing dogs on the beach and the prohibition of dogs in our three beach parks at Jaycee, Hermiston and South Beach       

More people are on the beach outside the guarded areas increasing the likelihood of accidents and drownings.  

Areas of Progress

With help from Waldo’s, Minuteman Press, Coastal Technology Corporation, Hoos Architects, Mills Short Engineers, Farrow Construction, City of Vero Beach and City Council, VBLA’s goal of giving our lifeguards the ability to see more of the beach and react to emergencies faster by building a lifeguard tower and command center at Humiston Park will be a reality once we find a donor. 

Key

Park Attendance: an estimated count of park attendees to include boardwalks within each park and areas immediately north and south of each park

Preventative Actions:  stopping potential incidents before they occur

Minor Medicals:  a medical incident which is treated on-site by lifeguard/EMT         personnel

Major Medicals:  a medical incident that required Emergency Medical Services

Rescues:  Any water related emergency to include rip current rescues, fatigued       swimmers, surfing, kite boarding and/or boating accidents.

About VBLA

This report is furnished by the Vero Beach Lifeguard Association, a non-profit, 501C3 organization.  Its mission is to promote water safety and lifeguarding in Vero Beach and the surrounding communities.  Contact us at VeroBeachLA@Yahoo.com or (908)797-8725.  Visit us at www.VBLA.org.  Donations are appreciated.  Monies raised are used to purchase equipment, supplies, and training for the lifeguards from the city of Vero Beach.  Please send donations to:  VBLA, 1351 White Heron Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32963.

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Nikki Kalin

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