The Beach Patrol provides lifeguards at designated areas on Clearwater Beach year round. The water is guarded from the shoreline to approximately 100 yards offshore. The swim area is marked with swim zone pilings and is designated a vessel exclusion area by City ordinance. There are 6 guard towers staffed during season, March 1 – Labor Day, and 3 towers staffed the rest of the year. Currently there are 6 full time lifeguards. The remaining staff are made up of "seasonal" lifeguards. The number of which varies based on the season. All are under the direction of the Water Safety Supervisor.
The primary function of the beach patrol is to protect the lives of the beach patrons, both in the water and on the sand. They do this in many ways, including recognizing dangerous activities or conditions and taking the appropriate preventative actions, rescuing bathers in distress, as well as performing CPR and first aid. A secondary responsibility of the beach patrol is educating and enforcing various city codes pertinent to the beach.
The following chart represents the annual fiscal year totals of all actions that were taken by lifeguards on Clearwater Beach.
Types of Actions
Clearwater Beach Lifeguards are the ambassadors of good will for the city, and may be the only representatives that tourist encounter during their visit to Clearwater. As such, the lifeguards have included an additional category to the actions that are taken to provide a safe and friendly environment. The additional category is Public Assistance. This category basically counts the number of contacts lifeguards have with beach patrons on a daily basis. These encounters might be answering questions on the flag system, providing information on area attractions, or giving directions to area hotels. This category illustrates how important it is to have city representatives on the beach that can provide a positive image to tourists as well as provide the information they are requesting. All the actions taken are measured and divided into the following categories:
- Water Rescues - Swimmer in trouble that needed assistance
- SBL Swim - Swim zone violation by swimmer
- SBL Boat - Swim zone violation by boat
- Jetty - Person on the jetty, dangerous situation
- Pier - Persons jumping off the pier or playing under the pier
- Missing person - usually lost child
- Medical - Medical assist, anything from minor first aid to advance life support
- Code Enforcement - Education and enforcement of City codes
- Public Assist - Answering questions and providing information
- Drowning - Drowning that takes place in a guarded area while lifeguards are on duty
The following chart represents the action categories that were measured.
Actions by the Month
Actions are measured monthly to determine peak periods of activity and provides information for staffing the Beach Safety division. The seasonal periods remain the same from year to year. The slowest period is November through February. Activity starts to grow in March with spring break and continues to escalate through the summer months.
Actions by Tower
Daily actions are also tracked by tower to help identify the busiest areas of the beach. Lifeguard towers are in number order from south to north. Towers 1-4 are on south beach between Clearwater Pass and Pier 60. Tower 5 is located just north of Pier 60. Tower 6 is located between Rockaway Street. and Avalon Street.