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Lifeguard Services May Be Restored at Black's Beach

UC San Diego has stepped up to fund yearlong lifeguard services at the popular beach starting March 14.

After more than a year of limited to no lifeguard service at Black’s Beach, city and officials announced initiatives Monday to restore lifeguard services at this remote beach used by surfers, swimmers and beach lovers.

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, UC San Diego Vice Chancellor Gary C. Matthews and lifeguard Chief Rick Wurts held a conference to announce that lifeguard services could resume as soon as March 14.

The cost of restoring the service—an estimated $502,000 annual—will be funded by UC San Diego. The San Diego City Council is scheduled to vote on this action item, with no city budget impacts, at its March 8 meeting.

“Our highest priority is to provide for the safety of our citizens and visitors,” said Lightner. “Restoring lifeguards to world famous Black’s Beach will keep people safe as they surf and swim, the very activities that help make San Diego special.”

Lightner explained that city budget reductions that began on Jan. 1, 2010, resulted in the elimination of lifeguard services at Black’s Beach from Labor Day to mid-June, which is the off-season, and the reduction in service from mid-June to Labor Day, which is the high season.

The proposed restoration of services will provide two lifeguards daily during the off-season and six lifeguards stationed daily during the high season and for UC San Diego’s spring break.

“Black’s Beach is a beach that has very, very strong conditions,” said Chief Wurts. “Down here in the wintertime—really, throughout the year—it gets some of the best surf anywhere in San Diego. Some of the top surfers around the county, in fact the country and even the world, surf Black's.”

Wurts said lifeguards participated in water rescues, cliff rescues, medical aid and more than 13,000 preventative acts at Black’s in 2009. Restoring lifeguard service will result in faster response times that could be the difference between life and death.

Vice Chancellor Matthews said safety is always the No. 1 priority of UC San Diego, even during tough economic times. He added that the “investment in safety is the right thing to do.”

UC San Diego’s surf team practices at Black’s Beach.

Last month, UC San Diego and city lifeguards announced plans to upgrade the lifeguard tower at Scripps Pier.

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