VBLA’s August 2020 Beach Report

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

Total Park Attendance45,570**
Preventative Actions777
Minor Medicals20
Major Medicals6
Average Water Temperature85
Beach ErosionModerate
Stinging Marine LifeModerate

*Does not include extended hours statistics

** New Record

General Conditions

August 2020 beach attendance broke the record for the fewest beach attendees of any August since VBLA started tracking beach statistics back in 2012. Prior to 2020, the lowest August beach attendance recorded was in 2015 with 45,657 attendees.  In contrast, last year’s August beach attendance broke the August record for the most beach attendees with 68,475 visitors.  The disparity could be contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and that hurricane Isaias closed the beaches on August 1st and 2nd.  Over the years, VBLA has noticed that beach patrons are spreading out along our four miles of City beach.  We have seen a steady migration of beach patrons away from 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 these areas are not counted in our report.  Moderate beach erosion has occurred as Mother Nature is dealing with the beach re-nourishment project which brought in thousands of tons of sand. Tides, winds and currents have carved out a two-tier shelving landscape of dunes on most of our beach.  In time, most of the beach will become less shelved and will eventually be moothed out.  Afternoon thunderstorms were prevalent in August.  Sea turtle nesting and hatchings were numerous.  The sea turtle researchers are marking approximately 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 85 degrees.  Lifeguards responded to 26 medical calls during the regular 9am to 5pm shift of which 6 were serious enough to require EMS transport.  Of the 6 major medical calls, 3 were heat related injuries and 3 were injuries suffered from the shore break.  During the extended hours from 5pm to 7pm, lifeguards responded to 4 medical calls of which 1 was serious enough that the patron had to be transported to the hospital.   Lifeguards rescued 2 people from rip currents during normal business hours of 9am to 5pm during the month of August bringing the total number of water rescues in 2020 to 28.  The last day of extended lifeguard hours will be Saturday, September 12th.       

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 through Saturday, September 12th.     

Total Park Attendance13,160
Preventative Actions326
Minor Medicals3
Major Medicals1

Volunteers from VBLA have installed orange and white marker buoys 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

Many dog owners are violating the rules for allowing dogs on the beach.       

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


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, kiteboarding, 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.

Nikki Kalin
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