Junior Lifeguard Program Thrives in Fort Lauderdale

fort-lauderdale-ocean-rescue
Photo Courtesy: Brent Rutemiller

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) caught up with Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue (FLOR) Chief Alexandre O’Connor and Lieutenant Crystal Haire to talk about their summer junior lifeguard program.

The Junior Lifeguard Program is offered to kids, ages 9 to 17. The program last for four weeks and includes two, two-week sessions.

Since 1985, the goal of the program has been to teach ocean safety skills. Training activities are consistent with ocean lifeguard requirements, including running, swimming, paddle board use, kayak paddling, rescue buoy technique, shallow-water entry and surf dash approach training. Recreational activities such as volleyball, kickball, dodge ball, snorkeling, and beach flags, are also a part of the program.

The basic requirements for participation in the FLOR Junior Lifeguard Program are as follows:

  1. Ability to swim 100 yards in under or around two minutes
  2. Ability to tread water for a minimum of five minutes
  3. Ability to swim continuously 25 feet under water

The program had 80 kids at the time ISHOF visited with a 10-1 ratio of faculty to student. The program aims to help kids understand the currents, the wind directions and where the rip currents are.

The Ocean Rescue program has approximately 90 lifeguards on payroll and 36 full-time guards. Four of the current professional lifeguards came from the junior lifeguard program.

View the interview below with O’Connor and Haire.

3 comments

  1. Stu Marvin

    Hands down one of the best programs going!