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Historical Highlights

surfboardFort Lauderdale Beach has had continuous supervised public bathing at its beaches since 1926. Here’s a look at some highlights from the record books of Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue.

  • Female lifeguards since 1927 and African-American lifeguards since 1968.
  • Lifeguards at the International Swimming Hall of Fame Pool’s Annual Ocean Mile Swim for 36 years.
  • Hosted national lifeguard competitions; the first was the 1967 National Lifeguard Championships.
  • Hosted the Fort Lauderdale Relays Invitational Surf Lifesaving Competition sixteen times, beginning in 1979.
  • Since 1995, has held an annual “Surf and Turf”, ½ mile run, ½ mile swim.
  • Has annual staff pictures, dating back to 1926, hanging at Ocean Rescue Headquarters.
  • Since 1990, has held an annual 5k intra-squad road run on July 4th.
  • Since 1994, has held an annual 3-mile, intra-squad sand run on New Year’s Day.
  • Helped Santa Claus hand out candy canes on the beach every year at the “Santa on the Beach event,” a tradition since 1980.
  • Conducted an intra-squad lifeguard tournament periodically since 1985.
  • Hosted a 10-Mile surfboat race since periodically since 1978 (first the Fort Lauderdale 10-Mile Row, now the Gene Bergman 10-Miler).
  • Entered at least one boat in the annual Winterfest Boat Parade in the last five consecutive years.

By the Numbers on nearly 3 miles of guarded public beach

Fort Lauderdale’s public beach is one of the most famous in the world, and one of the most visited in Florida. FLOR statistics for the year 2017:

  • Beach Attendance: 3,560,138
  • Public Contacts: 132,913
  • Assists/Preventative Actions: 41,302
  • Ocean Rescues: 89
  • Victims Lives Saved: 111
  • Major First Aids Requiring Transport: 53
  • Red or Yellow Flags (Hazardous Bathing): 84 days
  • Purple Flags (Sea pests/Jellyfish): 115 days
  • Missing/Found Persons: 99


Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue equipment includes:

  • 3 Honda 4x4 ATV
  • 2 Personal Rescue Watercrafts
  • 4 Toyota Tacoma 4x4
  • 14 Automated External Defibrillators
  • 20 Lifeguard towers and vehicles are equipped with trauma bags, airway bags, spinal injury management equipment and rescue boards
  • 14 Automated External Defibrillators  ("including one in every odd number tower" )