Ocean Shores Deactivates Surf Rescue Team
The Ocean Shores Surf Rescue Team will be officially deactivated on Saturday due to budget cuts.
The ten-man team is made up of six police officers and four firefighters. The cost per man averaged just over $5,000 per year.
The Surf Rescue Team has been the first line of defense for water rescues near the shoreline. Calls often involved minors who get in trouble in the surf or boaters whose craft begins to capsize, although they responded to emergencies on the lakes as well.
In addition to the Surf Rescue Team for water emergencies, 911 always calls the Coast Guard. The Westport Coast Guard Station will respond, but are about forty-five minutes by boat from the main Ocean Shores beach approach. The Coast Guard is not capable of operating in the surf as their boats require about twenty feet of clearance from the sea bottom. The Coast Guard Air Station in Astoria, OR, is capable of water rescues, but is about thirty-five minutes by air from Ocean Shores when available.
In preparation for deactivation, the City has ordered additional signs to be posted at beach approaches and at fresh water access points. The signs warn that no lifeguard is on duty and that dangerous rip currents can harm the unwary.
Mayor Crystal Dingler says that the City will seek grants and donations to reactivate the team. The Mayor believes she can gather enough funding to keep the team working through the coming months when tourist activity is heaviest in Ocean Shores and the North Beach.
In the meantime, residents and visitors are urged to be especially careful in the water and to dial 911 immediately in the case of a water emergency.