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Proposed cuts in lifeguard staffing would make beaches unsafe, critics say

April 19, 2011 |  7:51 am

Spectators watch waves crashing onto Corona Del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach. It's not very likely that a lifeguard will spot someone swept to sea by a rip current in the middle of the winter. That's when guards operate with a stripped-down workforce and can only patrol some parts of the city's beaches once a day.

If Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff's budget proposal is passed, the odds of rescue will be even longer.

By cutting full-time staff during the off-season, Kiff said he believes Newport Beach can save money while still meeting its public-safety obligations. The guards disagree. They say they won't be able to keep the beaches safe enough and that tourism could ultimately suffer as a result.

Brent Jacobsen, president of the Lifeguard Management Assn., said the cuts would leave just a few guards to respond to emergencies on any given day during the off-season, from the end of October until the beginning of March.

"It's simply not enough to run an operation like that," he said. "It's just not safe."

Read the full story here.

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-- Mike Reicher, Daily Pilot / Times Community News

Photo: Spectators watch waves crashing onto Corona Del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach. Credit: Cristine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

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