PCB Fire Rescue Hosts Beach Safety Tryouts

Published: Feb. 11, 2023 at 8:31 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As the Spring Season approaches Panama City Beach Fire Rescue is kicking off its first Beach Safety Tryout of the year.

The two-part tryout included completing a 500-meter swim in under 10 minutes, and a one-mile run in under 12 minutes.

Nearly a dozen potential lifeguards met up at Frank Brown Park’s Aquatic Center Saturday morning for the first phase despite the cold and rainy weather.

Beach Safety Rescue Responder Chaylie Cook says the weather was great practice for future lifeguards.

“We work out in the elements all the time,” Cook said. “We don’t get to have the perfect condition for a rescue. Most of the time if the water is rough the weather is rough and you have to be able to push through that discomfort.”

Officials say anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard should not hesitate to come out because no professional background is required.

“Main thing we’re looking for is resilience. The drive to finish that 500. It’s a long swim. Initially, time isn’t the most important thing. Before the end of the academy, you’ll have to pass the time obviously, but first things first we just want people who are dedicated and willing to come out on a day like this,” the rescue responder said.

Chris Croteau was one of the participants at tryouts, however, it was not his first time. He was there simply to get requalified.

“It’s a really rewarding job. You get to see all kinds of things. You never know what the next day is going to bring. That’s what keeps me coming back personally,” said Croteau.

Members of the beach safety division say they are looking to hire as many people as possible.

“It’s really important to get guards on the beach before the start of swim break because Panama City Beach is a very popular destination for spring breakers and spring storms water is super dangerous,” said Cook. “So, we have to have those people trained and ready to respond to the emergencies.”

More tryout dates for the spring season are underway. For more details contact Chaylie Cook at Chaylie.cook@pcbfl.gov or by phone at (850) 704-0627.