Vero Beach Lifeguard Association Monthly Beach Report For July 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 Attendance86,095
Preventative Actions1,194
Minor Medicals28
Major Medicals7
Rescues3
Average Water Temperature84
Beach ErosionMinimal
Stinging Marine LifeMinimal

*Does not include extended hours statistics

General Conditions

July 2020 beach attendance (86,095) did not break the July attendance record set in 2018 of 93,000 visitors, however,   attendance was about the same as last year (86,686).  The COVID-19 pandemic may be contributing to lower attendance by stopping some out-of-state and international tourists from visiting Vero Beach and those Floridians concerned about social distancing and crowds.  Over the years, VBLA has noticed that beach patrons are spreading out along the four miles of City beach.  Since 2015, we have seen a steady migration of beach patrons away from the guarded areas, filling in the approximately one mile distance between each of the three lifeguard towers.  It is to be noted that beach attendance is taken within the guarded beaches (200 yards each) and 50 yards north and south of each tower.  Patrons outside of the aforementioned areas are not counted in our report.  Afternoon thunderstorms were prevalent in July.  Sea turtle nesting and hatchings were numerous.  The sea turtle researchers are marking every 18th nest depending on the species and where the nests are located.  The type of turtles within and under the marked nests are noted by the following initials:  Cm=green turtle, Cc=loggerhead turtle, Dc=leatherback turtle.  Beach grooming (the removal of seaweed from the beach) stopped at the end of April and will resume once turtle nesting season is over on October 31st.  The ocean water temperature has risen to 84 degrees.  Lifeguards responded to 42 medical calls of which 2 occurred during the extended hours between 5pm -7pm.  Both of those patients required medical transport to the hospital.  Lifeguards had over 14,000 visitors during extended hours.  Lifeguards rescued 3 people from rip currents during normal business hours of 9am to 5pm in the month of July bringing the total number of water rescues in 2020 to 26.  During extended hours, lifeguards rescued a father and son from the shipwreck Breconshire during strong winds and currents after their raft sprung a leak. All three guarded beaches within the City limits started extended hours on Memorial Day weekend. Lifeguards will be on duty from 9am to 7pm during the summer.     

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 Progress

Lifeguards started extended hours during Memorial Day weekend on Sunday May 24th.  They will be on duty until 7pm during the summer months which will keep our beaches safer.   

EXTENDED HOURS (5-7pm) STATISTICS – 7/1-7/31
Total Park Attendance14,115
Preventative Actions519
Minor Medicals5
Major Medicals2
Rescues1

Orange and white marker buoys have been installed on the Prefabricated Erosion Prevention (PEP) reef which extends 3000 feet from Humiston Park to The Village Spires along Central Beach.  These buoys may prevent swimmers from being injured by the reef as it is located within the surf zone along a very popular section of beach.  

The City of Vero Beach Police Department have continued their beach patrols.  This is a welcomed sight to many beach goers as community policing and safer beaches are important and very much appreciated. 

We hope the public understands the need to discontinue the beach grooming during turtle nesting season and the fact that seaweed left on the beach helps to strengthen and protect our shoreline.    

With help from Idea Garden, 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 is progressing.

Areas of Concern

Some patrons are complaining about the amount of seaweed on the beach.  Seaweed is a natural occurrence and part of a healthy beach ecology.  Removal of the seaweed may weaken the beach’s foundation, prevent the formation of protective dunes and increase beach erosion.  

Many dog owners are violating the newly enacted policy of allowing dogs on the beach.      

As beach attendance grows more people are outside the guarded areas increasing the likelihood of accidents and drownings.  

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 VBLAThis 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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