PENINSULA - The summer of 2003 was a busy one for the SPCTRT, responding to a total of 12 rescues. Three were fatalities.
"We feel we did fairly well," said Knutzen, "but we're still dealing with three people who lost their lives out there."
A dozen is about the yearly average for surf rescues locally, the number of fatalities fluctuating from year to year. With the outstanding weather this summer and many people on the beach and in the water because of it, Knutzen said he's happy that they didn't have more.
"It's always hard to keep them out of the water. That's where the education comes in."
One way the team is able to educate the public is by way of beach patrols during busy simmer days. The city of Long Beach has hired SPCTRT to do a beach patrol over 20 of the busiest days of the year for the last four years. Knutzen reported to the city council Monday night he felt the service was a success, saying it was a great opportunity to talk with many people on the beaches.
"We've made a lot of swimmer contacts, we made some good rescues," he summed up the summer. "I think it was a really good year. Everybody was really aware of the dangers and were really interested in being safe."
He said that the combination of patrols and the beach safety posters and brochures the team had made up earlier this year went a long way to ensuring the safety of many. They distributed over 700 posters and 100,000 brochures up and down the Peninsula.
"A lot of times we were handing them brochures saying, 'These are some of the things we want you to look out for' and they said 'Oh, I've already read it.'"
The SPCTRT will resume distributing the brochures to area business and motels in the spring.