Out & About San Diego—The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach

Out & About San Diego

It’s amazing how many times I can go someplace and still find something new.

Recently I was in Ocean Beach, a place where I hung out every day for many years, and a place that I still visit on a weekly basis. I found two monuments that I had never seen before. One is called “The Lifeguard.” Looks like this:

The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

There’s a lot of text on that plaque. Here’s what it says:


On Sunday, May 5, 1918, 13 lives were lost here, including
11 soldiers and sailors stationed at Camp Kearny North Island and Point Loma. The rip currents were caused by unusual conditions of tides near the entrance to Mission Bay.
Police Lifeguard Louis Chauvaurd made several unheeded warnings to the soldiers and effected rescues before he fell exhausted. Police Lifeguards Glen Fresca, Frank Gilroy and Frank Merritt all made several rescues. Citizens and soldiers were called upon to make rescues including Henry Hanson who valiantly saved the lives of 5 swimmers before losing his own. Over 60 lives were saved. As a result of this tragedy the

City of San Diego provided additional lifeguard staffing
and equipment leading to the development of the
Lifeguard Services today.

This memorial was placed here in 2013 by the
San Diego Lifesaving Association and the citizens of San Diego
in honor of San Diego Lifeguards
and to memorialize the men who lost their lives.

Ralph Braby • Hugh E. Burr • Emerson Donaldson
Henry P. Hanson • Herman Haube

L. H. Killingsworth • Frank Mitten
Charles Monroe Humphrey • Chalmer L. Pollitt

Marcus Regil • Fred W. Sanborn • Jesus Satoyo • Granville Taylor

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Robert Baxley (1934-2005), a former Ocean Beach lifeguard,
respected waterman, author and judge, provided the vision for the establishment of this bronze.
In 2010 a task force was created led by

Neil Moyer, Jim ‘Mouse’ Robb, Julie Klein, Richard Arnold,
Lt. Greg Buchanan and former Councilmember Byron Wear
to organize the community effort.

In appreciation for major gifts to the
Captain Charles W. Hardy Memorial Fund
[And then it lists all the contributors to the Fund.
I can’t read them, and I could find no online source
that lists them, but I’d like to thank them, too!]

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

7 thoughts on “Out & About San Diego—The Lifeguard, Ocean Beach

  1. cat9984

    I wish more people understood riptides. We get t them in the Great Lakes. The number of people who die in them is higher than I would have thought. Particularly in Lake Michigan. (Maybe Superior is too cold for most people to swim.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I’ve pretty much spent most of my life in the water, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The only rip tide I ever experienced was just north of Oval Beach in Saugatuck, Michigan, on Labor Day Weekend in 1994. Will never forget it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. cat9984

        Eight years ago my son was caught in one off Manistee. He was out there 20 minutes before he was rescued. They thought they were going out for a retrieval since that’s the usual outcome after that much time. He was 13. I’m not sure he’ll be going back into open water.

        Liked by 1 person


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