History of Lifeguarding in California

Robert Isenor surveys the beach from the Huntington Headquarter, 1950's

Aquatic safety in parks dates back to the earliest days of our department.  The first wardens, custodians or rangers no doubt thought about seasonal water flow and levels, and the dangers in the rivers, streams, lakes, waterfalls in their parklands.  They knew safe crossings, the impacts of flooding, the good fishing spots, and picnic spots where wading pools might be.  As appropriate, they had tools like canoes, rowboats, lines and even grappling hooks.

Wherever we came in contact with water, we had to deal with the potential dangers associated with this dynamic element.

The use of lifeguards on beaches in California began in the late 1930’s. The beach was inexpensive recreation in the post Depression era.  Communities grew around seasonal beach attendance.  Transportation improvements made the beach accessible to the inland communities.  The influx of swimmers into the surf-zone in Southern California lead to drowning on a sometimes massive scale.

To learn more visit: PARKS.CA.GOV

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Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association

Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association (DSBIA) is the non-profit cooperating association of Doheny State Beach, dedicated to the protection of the park’s beaches, facilities, marine refuge and its historical, cultural and social stories.
These challenges are met through DSBIA’s fundraising efforts and active support of the park’s educational, interpretive, conservation and restoration programs.  DSBIA was established in 1982, making it one of the oldest cooperating associations in the California State Parks System.
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