The Lifeguards of the Atlantic Coast

By | July 15, 2013

These beaches are patrolled by lifeguards who are employed by each of the resorts. They start about 11am and finish about 7pm. These blokes work in a team of 3 or so on the beach and a couple watch from their shed perched on the dune above the beach at the path into the resort. These blokes seem to be busy the whole day, but I only saw them ‘in action’ once and the rest of the time they were basically liaising with the beach goers. There is a constant stream of people making their way over to chat to these blokes and they rarely seem to have much time themselves. They are equipped with a 4WD or SUV that is parked on the beach close to the surfs edge.

The surf patrols are taken very seriously, despite their relaxed attitudes. The non-official beach at La Jenny is not patrolled and there is usually a fatality there every year. This year the stretch of coast has a numbered flag system so anyone in trouble can report their approximate location. The lifesavers at La Jenny usually have to respond to the fatality at the other beach by closing the beach – heading up in their 4WD only to find they are too late for saving anyone.

This part of the coast according one of the lifesavers I was chatting to, is quite dangerous for surf due to the currents, sink holes and gutters that form off the coast. About half of the lifesaving team are made up of Australians, who have about a 4 month contract.

This really could be a dream job for some, and they also join in the spirit of the beach and are nude most of the time. The tide will also move across the beach quickly and if you arrive at low tide and set your towel up – by the time its high tide – there is a good chance you will have needed to move your things several times.

These blokes also take their job very seriously and maybe even a touch too enthusiastic at times. If someone enters the water they are very observant.

The lifeguards have a constant stream of beach-goers chatting to them and they seem to be on very friendly terms.

Speaking of the lifeguards being taking their job seriously, at Montalivet, 5 young ladies went for a swim, and the surf currents took them outside the flagged area, along with a few other people. Whistles were blown and the crowd told to swim back to the flagged area. The young ladies who from my experience of surf beaches really didn’t seem in any danger, they were probably able to stand in the surf and almost were wading in the water. The lifeguards sprang into action and ran into the surf to save these ladies from imminent peril, real or realised, or maybe it was a good opportunity for the lifeguards to practice their skills.

Fortunately, I can report, the day was saved and ladies were rescued from the clutches of the ocean. (The other people managed to save themselves). The lifeguards were rewarded with kisses on the cheeks and the girls returned to their place on the sand. It was a touch different watching this with all concerned being nude.

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