After 12 years of working together out of a temporary double-wide trailer, Los Angeles County Lifeguards and Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol will now be able to respond to emergencies on both land and sea from the new Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol facility. Fire Chief Daryl Osby, Lifeguard Chief Mike Frazer, Supervisor Don Knabe, Redondo Beach Fire Chief Dan Madrigal and Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin joined residents in celebrating the opening of the 5,000 square-foot building in King Harbor on August 24. The new location will also serve as a third fire station for the Redondo Beach Fire Department, as well as the operating base for our Baywatch Redondo personnel.
"We have a great working relationship with Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol," says Rescue Boat Captain Evan Cassaday. "They were gracious enough to allow us into their small facility beforehand when our little office was destroyed in a windstorm in 1988, so we're happy for them. We have a long history of helping each other out."
Indeed, the successful working relationship between our two agencies is what prompted Knabe's office to provide a portion of the funding towards construction costs – ensuring that office space could be allocated to our Baywatch Redondo team. "Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol is often called to fire and medical calls on land, so when they respond they give us a quick chirp on the radio and we know to move down and stage closer to the harbor to handle water emergencies," says Cassaday. "At the same time, Baywatch Redondo covers a very large area, from Point Vicente to Playa del Rey, so when we're out and about and get tied up on a call, they've always been quick to come and help us out. There's a lot of mutual support between our agencies."
The new building includes sleeping quarters and a full-service kitchen for Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol, as well as a remodeled observation tower. Three rooms are dedicated for lifeguard operations, including office space, equipment storage and training. There is also a shared classroom for both agencies to hold training sessions with the California Department of Boating and Waterways. Expansion plans down the road will include living quarters for our lifeguards working at the facility.
For now, our lifeguards are just appreciative and thankful Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol opened their doors to them. Though the small double-wide trailer that was literally falling apart at the seams was a tight fit for both agencies, it was a step up from the 8×10-foot plywood structure our lifeguards operated out of before it was destroyed. In fact, it may have been the close quarters that facilitated the cooperative spirit between departments. "Maybe that's one of the things that made us work so well together, sort of like siblings having to share a small room," jokes Cassaday.
This new facility is just part of an overall plan for improvements in the Harbor. Our Department looks forward to continuing our successful relationship with Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol in providing ocean lifesaving protection to the residents and visitors of Redondo Beach.