South Beach Park
To promote lifeguarding and water safety in Vero Beach and the surrounding communities
|Total Park Attendance||34,852|
|Average Water Temperature||84|
|Stinging Marine Life||Moderate|
Note: one drowning fatality occurred on September 30th at 6:45pm near South Beach Park when lifeguards were off duty.
Hurricane Dorian devastated plans for many beach vacationers during the early part of September. September 2019 had the third lowest beach attendance of any September behind 2018(32K) and 2014(34.5K) since VBLA started tracking statistic in 2011. Beach erosion was extreme as Hurricane Dorian and the Fall King Tides washed out dunes at Humiston, Conn and Jaycee Beach Parks. Some sections of boardwalk at Humiston and Conn Beach were damaged and closed to pedestrians. Strong east winds brought in jellyfish causing some swimmers to get stung which accounted for the majority of minor medical emergencies on the beach. Sea turtle nests did not fare well during Hurricane Dorian. Only 10% of the remaining sea turtle nests survived the storm. The average ocean water temperature remained at 84 degrees. Lifeguards responded to 32 medical calls of which all were minor in nature. One person was rescued from a rip current in front of the Driftwood Inn bringing the total number of water rescues in 2019 to 15. On Monday, September 30th a young man from Vero Beach drowned near South Beach Park around 6:45pm. Lifeguards were not on duty at the time. The American Flag on the Steamship Breconshire washed away during Hurricane Dorian. All but 2 of the artificial reef buoys on the PEP reef along Central Beach have washed away. Volunteers from the VBLA will attempt to attach some of the buoys if/when conditions allow.
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
Lifeguard extended hours during the summer provided more safety on the beach by preventing some accidents from occurring. Unfortunately, the extended lifeguard hours were only from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The City has budgeted for extended hours next summer.
Orange and white marker buoys have been installed on the Prefabricated Erosion Prevention (PEP) reef which extends 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 at a very popular section of beach.
The City of Vero Beach has pledged $75,000 to help build the House of Refuge Lifeguard Tower and Command Center at Humiston Park. With help from Coastal Technology Corporation, Hoos Architects, Mills Short Engineers and Farrow Construction, VBLA’s goal of giving our lifeguards the ability to see more of the beach and react to emergencies faster by building a facility at Humiston Park is progressing.
Areas of Concern
Loss of life due to drowning is tragic and preventable. The ocean is inviting and beautiful but commands respect and a certain amount of fear. Too many people are unaware of the power of the ocean.
Some dog owners are bringing their dogs on the beach. It is against City ordinances to bring dogs on any of the City’s beach parks or traverse over public beach accesses with dogs unless the dog is a “handicap assisted” animal. Many dogs are off their leashes which pose a hazard to beach patrons and sea turtle nests.
As the popularity of Vero Beach grows more people are outside the guarded areas and swimming when lifeguards are not present.
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.
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.