As a kid, I spent my summers bodysurfing in Santa Monica Bay. At that time, I looked up to lifeguards as the coolest people on the planet. After all, they got to hang out at the beach every day, rescue people from rip currents, receive public adoration, and serve as the ultimate authority on the beach. After I grew up and started working for Heal the Bay, I found that my opinion of ocean lifeguards really never changed. In particular, I was always impressed by those ocean guards that really cared about water quality in the Bay as well their responsibilities as lifesavers. In particular, (now Captain) Angus Alexander was a fixture at Heal the Bay meetings in Dorothy Green’s living room, and he’s been involved on Santa Monica Bay water quality issues for over two decades. Also, the legendary marine biologist and eco-warrior, Rim Fay, was a longtime guard.
A few years ago, my oldest son Zack started participating in the Los Angeles County Junior Lifeguard program. During the summers of 2009 and 2010, he was one of 50 junior guards that participated in the cadet program, a critical step in the training needed to become a beach lifeguard.