SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. - With the beginning of March comes the beginning of Spring Break. And in Walton County, it also signifies the start of South Walton Fire District's Lifeguard season.
South Walton Fire District's Beach Safety Program went into its 12th season on Wednesday, putting lifeguards at 14 different locations along South Walton's 26 miles of beach.
"We really didn't have much of an off season and I think anybody who owns a business or is a local - I think they understand that," said David Vaughan, the District's Beach Safety Director. "The shoulder of the season as it used to be called has largely gone away."
Through a few partnerships, the program is extending its reach, adding a new location at Rosemary Beach while maintaining another at Sandestin.
"The Board of County Commissioners approved an additional tower at Grayton," added Vaughan. "We had previous coverage last year which was an experiment which was we had one guard on an ATV roving between Grayton, Blue Mountain and Seaside."
The lifeguards coordinate with the District's EMT's to assist in medical response as well as provide special form of transportation to those with mobility issues.
"We have five wheelchairs that are able to be used by our public here," said Colin Perlaky, a Beach Safety Supervisor. "Our lifeguards will come and pick you up from your beach access and take you down to the water."
The District also bolsters a perfect record.
"What we're most proud of is we have zero fatalities on guarded beaches," said Vaughan.
The lifeguards will be on the beaches everyday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The season ends on September 30th.
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