It Was an ‘OB-Whack-a-Mole’ for Ocean Beach Lifeguards on First Day of the Limited ‘Re-Opening’

by on April 28, 2020 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

Ken Stone and Chris Stone, over at the Times of San Diego, called it. They described what happened on the first day of the limited “re-opening” of the beach in Ocean Beach:

“a sand version of whack-a-mole ensued in Ocean Beach as lifeguards scurried to keep people moving.” In contrast to some other city beaches, where city officials congratulated beachgoers, “… Ocean Beach saw some lifeguards look weary.”

Here’s more of the Times’ take:

Lifeguards near the OB Pier dealt both with water safety problems — having to race into surf to check on people or warn them of danger — and repeatedly educating people about no-sitting or lying rules.

No sooner did they talk to one seated beachgoer, then they approached others for playing ball. Then others would step on the sand and pull out a blanket, and lifeguards headed in that direction.

They used a bullhorn or drove over to them to enforce pandemic rules.

Dealing with the middle ground between a complete beach closure and complete opening, lifeguards had to split their attention between water and sand, even though infractions were minor in nature.

One Ocean Beach lifeguard said people were falling back on old patterns — unaware of rules barring sitting on the beach and playing games. He still rated them “A.” But another, when asked to give a letter grade, said some exhibited “F” acts.

“They weren’t following the rules,” he said with some exasperation.

Sand-goers would face reclosing of the beaches if rules weren’t followed, he said.

The Times also described young adults and kids playing with giant bubbles made by a guy on or near the Pier, that lifeguards had to stop and ask people laying on the beach that they had keep moving, under the new rules. Few people wore masks, the Times reported. The article did quote one lifeguard at Windansea as saying it was “like herding cats …”


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page April 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm

This photo is another example of a lack of common sense enforcement. If someone is sitting on a towel, no where near anyone else, leave them alone. If a group of people congregate and are too close, spend time on them, not just anyone sitting on the beach. At my local park yesterday, everyone was doing a great job except for a group I saw playing soccer together. Those are the people who need attention. I’m not blaming the lifeguards or the police, they are doing what they are told. What it shows is a woeful lack of intelligent leadership from above.

Oh, and someone please tell the cyclists that just because they are on a bike, they still need to make an attempt at keeping a distance. During my jogs, the biggest offenders have been the cyclists even when there was plenty of room to provide space.


Mervie April 28, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Yeah, “leave the person sitting on a towel alone.” That makes perfect sense. Especially when the regulations specifically say no sitting. Also it looks like that person is on their 2nd margarita from Mike’s taco shop.

The point is that there can’t be a ton of people sitting on the beach, otherwise its not safe to access the waves.We asked them to open the ocean so surfer, swimmers, joggers, can have more public space to excersise. Not so that people with nothing better to do can get out of the house and work on their tans.


Geoff Page April 29, 2020 at 9:33 am

The point flew right over your head.


Chris April 29, 2020 at 9:46 am

Mike’s Taco Shop has margaritas?


thequeenisalizard April 29, 2020 at 9:19 am

183 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths yesterday, but go to beach. Did anyone think people wouldn’t take advantage of their stupidity?


Geoff Page April 29, 2020 at 10:09 am

Do you know if any of the new cases are in any way related to beach attendance? If you do, then provide that in your comment, otherwise, I don’t see the relationship to this piece.


Peter from South O April 29, 2020 at 12:42 pm

We will not know one way or the other for a week to ten days (watch for the spike), so in the immortal words of George Carlin: “. . . soooo, drink up, Shriners!”


Peter from South O April 30, 2020 at 3:04 am

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGTV) — Governor Gavin Newsom is set to announce the closure of all California beaches and state parks beginning Friday, May 1, KABC reports.

A memo from the California Police Chiefs Association says the decision was based on “well-publicized media coverage of overcrowded beaches this past weekend, in violation of Governor Newsom’s Shelter in Place Order.”


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