Summer is over. Will lifeguards stay on local beaches?


SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)- The secret is out. The best time of year to visit the Panhandle is the fall.

With warm temperatures, blue skies, and clear water, more people are coming to visit the beach in South Walton during the fall months. Which means there is still a heavy presence of beachgoers. So, unlike most beach agencies, South Walton Fire District is going to keep guard of the sand.

Even though Labor Day is usually the unofficial end of summer South Walton fire District lifeguards are not winding down, instead they are gearing up. “

“The public depends on us. Our physical fitness is depended on and it’s something that we take very seriously. And, as we continue through the offseason it will stay with that intensity level,” said Colin Perlaky, Lifeguard Supervisor.

Starting with the Triad test. It involves running, swimming and paddling. All pillars, pushing the lifeguards further to check endurance and strength and of course, if the lifeguard passes, they will reap the benefits like a pay raise.

“So, we use that as a motivation but it also helps the public out here,” explained Perlaky.

With an uptick in visitors during shoulder season these last few years, lifeguards in South Walton see a need to stay on the sand.

“The numbers don’t lie. We still have response activity on the beaches throughout the year so what it’s going to mean for both locals and tourists who do visit us in the offseason, that you are going to have a much quicker response time and a more effective first response when something does happen,” said David Vaughan, SWFD Beach Safety Director.

“I think it’s wonderful to have the lifeguards here for added safety till October there’s a lot of different flags that we’ve had so it’s really nice to know have them here protecting our beaches and protecting us,” said Jennifer Peterson, resident.

South Walton Fire District Lifeguards will man their stands until October 31, Monday through Sunday.

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