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Lifeguards to promote beach safety at open houses

National Beach Safety Week starts off with events at Main Beach headquarters to educate on proper beach behavior.

May 19, 2011|By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com

Laguna Beach lifeguards will host open houses at Main Beach headquarters from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and Monday to kick off National Beach Safety Week.

The Marine Safety Department's open houses will be held in coordination with the United States Lifesaving Assn.'s national efforts to promote beach safety and educate the public.

Educational materials will be displayed, and children can receive coloring books and have their pictures taken in the Lifeguard Rescue Vehicle.

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"Every week in Laguna is National Beach Safety Week," Marine Safety Department Chief Kevin Snow said.

"Over 4 million people visit our beaches annually, and more than 3,000 of them are rescued from the surf by our ocean lifeguards annually," he said.

In spite of the lifeguards' vigilance, many beachgoers drown in California waters because they don't know or don't practice safe beach behavior, Snow said.

The goal of National Beach Safety Week is to teach children and parents how to avoid drowning or other perils.

"No. 1 is to know your limitations," Snow said.

Swimmers and boarders should stay out of the water if the red flag is flying and conditions are beyond their expertise, Snow said.

"Parents should always call [to determine conditions] before sending their kids to the beach," Snow said.

For beach weather and surf conditions, call (949) 494-6573.

Other recommended safety practices include swimming near a lifeguard, learning to swim, never swimming alone, not fighting the current, swimming sober, using leashes with body and surf boards, not floating where you can't swim, using life-jackets, protecting your neck by not diving head-first and following beach safety directions given by lifeguards at all times

"Ocean lifeguards are safety service professionals who risk their lives in order to help those in danger and by doing so they enhance the quality of life for the citizens in our fine communities," Snow said.

The Marine Safety Department is a United States Lifesaving Assn. certified agency.

To learn more about the department, visit http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/marine.

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