The Volunteer Life Saving Corps of Jacksonville Beach
All proceeds from JBDTC benefit the Volunteer Life Saving Corps of Jacksonville Beach to help supplement funding provided by the American Red Cross and the City of Jacksonville Beach. Funds are needed for training and outreach programs, and maintenance of its oceanfront facility.
About the Volunteer Life Saving Corps
On Sundays and holidays, members of the Volunteer Life Saving Corps take responsibility for guarding the public beach of Jacksonville Beach, just as they have done since 1912. This is strictly a volunteer service that functions as a highly competent and professional force. The members are well trained and disciplined in the most modern techniques of lifesaving as well as in tradition that has placed the organization at the forefront of the service.
The Corps was the first such volunteer organization and although many others were formed, first by the U.S. Coast Guard and then by the American Red Cross, it is the only remaining volunteer group. The lifeguards’ buoy that is used throughout the world was first developed here by Henry Walters and was called the Walters’ Torpedo Buoy.
Other techniques pioneered by the Corps, and in use today, are the strict training of recruits, the flag relay system, the rapid response backup, and the hourly changing of the guard. The flag on the tower is used to signal the station for assistance. If the guard leaves the tower for any reason, the flag is dropped and the buoy must accompany the guard. In the case of a non-emergency event, the guard may wave the flag to request assistance. Guard towers between the outlying tower and the station relay the flag in like manner. In addition, there are towers with radios that are designated to call in the message.
The Corps is composed of men and women in good standing ranging in ages from 16 to 60+. All members must have completed a rigorous training course and examination before becoming part of the body. Upon completion, the recruits become recruit “surfmen” until completing the first season. During that time, the surfmen are to look out for the newest members and guide them towards becoming seasoned guards.
Members are recertified yearly in lifesaving, First Aid, CPR, and trained in emergency driving, personal development, and leadership. The Corps teaches CPR, First Aid, and beach safety classes to the public, and its international committee travels out of the country to train other lifeguards.
Many of the members have gone on to join the U.S. Marine Corps and other elite forces, and the Corps paramilitary tradition shares the term Esprit d’ Corps in the same manner. To learn more visit www.jaxbeachlifeguard.org.