We hit the beaches to get a first-hand look at the daily routine of a Virginia Beach lifeguard. We met up with 26 year veteran Marc Levine who gave a great deal of insight into a “day in the life” of a Virginia Beach lifeguard. Marc who was a competitive swimmer, since the age of 9, found that his inspiration always centered around being outdoors and especially being at the beach. Things got a little more serious when I asked what inspired him to dedicate his life to saving lives. Mark reflected back with me that years ago his uncle had the misfortune of drowning at an unprotected beach in Jupiter Florida. Mark, with all of his swimming skills, knew that if he had been in Jupiter on that fateful day, he could have saved his uncle’s life. It was after this tragic event that Marc knew that being a lifeguard was his true calling.
Today Marc is a senior member of a very elite team of some of the country’s best lifeguards. He is part of the VBLS (Virginia Beach Life Saving Services) which is the biggest and oldest beach service in the State of Virginia. They have protected more lives than any other beach service. Each day at 9am all lifeguards start their day with a meeting at the Lifeguard Station, located at Arctic and 18th Street, for the daily “muster” where lifeguard stand assignments and beach conditions are reviewed.
Throughout the day, lifeguards perform mock rescues and 1.5 hours of intense physical exercise, to always be ready for the next real-life rescue. In Virginia Beach there are nearly 70 lifeguards on duty everyday to protect the lives of thousands of families that have traveled from all across the globe. It seemed so routine for Marc to describe the countless number of water rescues that happen during the busy summer season.
An issue that arises frequently is children getting dislocated from their family. Marc says the best thing for families to do is just make sure children know what street they are on, and the best way to do that is by looking at the number on the lifeguard stand which correlates to the street. So it is safe to say that Marc has reunited thousands of familes during his 26 year career with the VBLS. Additionally, make sure you at least know the basic water safety tips to keep your family safe while at the beach. You should also be aware of the most updated ocean conditions.
Being a lifeguard is, in my opinion, equivalent of being a hero. Each day their job has them constantly on guard to make sure vacationers have a fun and safe vacation. Marc finds his job to be very rewarding as he interacts with thousands of people that share the same thing that helped him find his “calling in life”,… the beach and the great outdoors. We all stand in awe of the beauty and power of the ocean and the sandy beaches that line our shores. And it is the courageous lifeguards like Marc that keep us safe while we enjoy the wonder of the Atlantic Ocean and the fresh summer breezes. Marc said he looks forward to seeing all of you down on the beach very soon!