Lifesaving Landmark at the Beach
Where can you find the best volunteer lifeguards in the world?
Just go to Jacksonville Beach and look for the iconic white tower (a.k.a. “The Peg”) along the ocean. This is home for the American Red Cross Life Saving Corps.
The Corps are dedicated individuals with one purpose, to save lives. To become part of the elite team, there is a rigorous 12 week program that tests both mental and physical toughness.
For the small percentage of recruits that pass, the brothers and sisters are part of a lifelong fellowship. A member of the Corps, regardless of sex, is known as a “surfman”. Each surfman is re-certified every year in lifesaving, first aid, and CPR.
One of the early Pablo Beach surfmen was Henry Walters. Walters knew he could improve upon the current lifesaving device. At that time, lifeguards were using a donut ring that moved slowly in the water and could not support many people. So in 1919, he invented the “Walters Torpedo Buoy”. The cylindrical device was pointed at both ends and moved with little resistance in the water. The device was buoyant enough to support six people. Walters and his Torpedo Buoy were even featured in Popular Mechanics magazine. The same basic design is still in use today around the world.