Lifeguards needed in area beaches for busy summer season

Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue to hold orientation Sunday for anyone interested

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – For any teenagers looking for a summer job, now is their chance to become a lifeguard.

Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue will hold an orientation Sunday for anyone interested.

Lifeguards are having a hard time recruiting guards this year, and need to at least double their numbers before the busy season at Jacksonville Beach.

There has been lifeguards in Jacksonville Bach since 1912, following the drowning of a prominent citizen. Two years later, the American National Red Cross charted Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue as the first Volunteer Life Saving Corps in the county. It's now celebrated more than 100 years of tradition and uninterrupted volunteer service to saving lives at Jacksonville Beach. 

It's not only the first, but Jacksonville Beach is the last volunteer Life Saving Corps in the United States. In the world, only Australia operates similarly. 

The 150 hours of training are unpaid, then the lifeguards start out at $10.63 an hour. They volunteer their time Sundays and holidays, but many say these are some of the best years of their lives. 

“You get to surf. You get to work out. You get to be at the beach all day. When you’re up on tower, you’re in charge of that water, and it’s a good feeling to just be up there and know you’re watching everybody," said Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Lt. Eli Phillips. 

The training is a perfect transition into the medical field, and most many other careers. Plus, lifeguards get to live at the icon of Jacksonville Beach for free year-round.