Beach Lifeguards


Yes. That’s my view at this moment. Yes. I’m literally blogging from my beach chair.

Because this can’t wait.

As you may have heard , we are down in Fenwick Island, DE for Sam’s 12th birthday. He and his friends are old enough to go to the pool, ride bikes, or skateboard around the quiet resort alone. They are not, however, allowed to go to the beach (in the water) without a parent (actually just Chris.)

Basically as much as I LOVE the ocean, I cannot swim to save myself much less one of the kids I’ve been entrusted with.

So since Chris wasn’t in the mood for the beach yet, here I sit alone having just returned from a long walk– one that made me notice something I have taken for granted all these years.

It’s early in the season so only a few people were in the water- mostly boys Sam’s age or a tiny bit older.

As I strolled along I looked up at the lifeguards perched on their wooden thrones. I was… Disdainful. The girls were in navy blue bikinis, perfectly bronzed and nauseatingly lean. The boys (relative to my old ass they are just boys and girls.) were shirtless in short red swim trunks adorned with a white checkered pattern on one leg. Their orange whistles hung around their necks like first place medals.

I had no sooner had the “and-THESE-Barbie-and-Ken-dolls-are-the-ones-saving-our-kids?” thought when suddenly two girls were racing past me and into the freezing water-dragging large orange buoys effortlessly. I spotted the four flailing arms and was paralyzed.

The young men bobbed up and down not able to break free of the surf and not able to help each other. In less than 90 seconds, the lifeguards had reached them. They all treaded
water for a moment while their savees clutched the buoys. Everyone was catching their breath.

Now all of us beach goers were on our feet holding our own breath. The lifeguards cut through the sea as easily as they had moments before -this time towing two young men that easily outweighed them by 50 pounds.

As the surf broke the lifeguards instructed the boys to throw their arms around their shoulders. The victims footing was wobbly. As they got closer I shook

my head.

These dudes had to be 19-20. And they were in REALLY good shape (that’s it Sam’s getting more swim lessons).

What? Had to be some rip current!

Only it wasn’t a rip current at all. As the pairs of guard/victim stepped on the shore I noticed that both boys were in IDENTICAL red swim trunks … With a white checkered pattern on the left thigh.

They were not drowning. They were practicing.

It turns out that on my way back to my spot, I saw 4 other drills — all methodical- all calm– all meant to hone the skills of these already amazing lifeguards.

Life. Guards.

Yep exactly .

To all of you guarding our beaches this summer, THANK YOU.



  1. We are sitting w a similar view in ocean city, New Jersey. I am thankful for my “retired” Beach Patrol husband-who always has his eyes on the ocean on our own unguarded beach. I know my own kids are safe- and those we’ve known for years trust him, too. These “kids” are well trained and carry a great deal of confidence and pride in the work they do. My two nieces are also Beach Patrol members, and the family couldn’t be more proud!

  2. My son, and Healthy Steps patient, just became a lifeguard at 15 yrs old. He’ll be working 32 hrs per week this summer. He cant wait.

  3. LEARN TO SWIM!!!! :-)

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