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Lifeguard Services

In January 2018, the Carlsbad City Council directed city staff to move forward with a program to provide lifeguards on the stretch of beach from Oak Avenue to the city’s northern border with Oceanside. Unlike the rest of the beach in Carlsbad, this area is not managed by State Parks Department and therefore has limited services. 

At a Glance

  • The Carlsbad police and fire chiefs and members of the public have reported safety concerns along the northernmost stretch of beach in Carlsbad.
  • The Carlsbad City Council asked staff to develop a plan to provide lifeguard and increased law enforcement services in this area, which is not part of the State Parks system.
  • A pilot program ran from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2017. 
  • Based on the results of the pilot program, the City Council decided to provide lifeguard service on an ongoing basis, starting March 1, 2018. Get more details on the plan (starts on page 177).

Why Weren't There Lifeguards Before?

The beach from Oak Avenue north to Oceanside is not part of the California State Parks system, which includes Carlsbad State Beach from around Pine Avenue South to Terramar and South Carlsbad State Beach from the state campground south to the Encinitas border. Instead, property owners along Ocean Street own the beach directly in front of their properties out to what is called the “mean high tide line,” which is generally where the water meets the sand during high tide. 

The City of Carlsbad maintains public easements on this property, which allow people to utilize the beach and the city to provide services. 

In recent years, the number of people using this part of the beach has increased, prompting safety concerns. The City of Carlsbad police and fire departments respond to emergency calls in this area but do not patrol the beach like lifeguards would. California State Parks employs lifeguards for Carlsbad State Beach and South Carlsbad State Beach. 

During annual goal setting sessions the past few years, the Carlsbad City Council has made beach improvements one of its top priorities. City staff are working on a number of projects along the city’s nearly seven miles of coastline, including sprucing up the seven public beach entrances along Ocean Street and making them more visible. 

Source Documents and Related Information

For More Information

Call 760-931-2141 of email firemail@carlsbadca.gov