The reality TV show Beach Patrol features real-life Honolulu lifeguards as they go about the very serious and often dangerous job of saving lives. Pictured here at Sandy Beach, from left, are J.R. Sloan, Tony Ho, Dave Loui, Dave Loganbill and Matt Miller
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Lifeguards Bryan Phillips and Frederic Booth
A new reality show features Honolulu lifeguards in action as they save lives and prevent tragedies
You won’t find center-fold beauties posed as lifeguards jogging to synchronized music on this show. Beach Patrol: Honolulu is a real-life, action-packed lifeguard rescue series that illustrates the challenges and dangerous conditions lifeguards encounter daily - meaning they run at a much faster pace.
“These folks are experts, this isn’t a soap opera of them sitting around talking about how they are going to hook-up tonight,“says Ed Hersh,executive vice president,current programming and specials of Court TV.“This is really about their world and them being on the cutting edge of keeping people safe.”
For its fourth season, the Court TV lifeguard series packed up its camera crews and headed to the only U.S. location entirely surrounded by beaches - Hawaii. Known for its crystal-clear waters and white sand,what many may not know about Hawaii’s beaches is that the steep coastlines and rough surf also makes it some of the most dangerous.
“We’ve done seasons of Beach Patrol in San Diego and Miami and we’re always trying to do more,“says Hersh.“And Hawaii is like the Super Bowl of lifeguarding in the sense that there are so many extreme conditions and specialized work. And you’ve got people from everywhere in the world coming for vacations to surf, to swim, to fish.”
For about eight weeks the camera crews followed the lifeguards of the Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Unit to beaches such as Waikiki, Sandy’s, Makapu’u, Pipeline, Waimea Bay and Sunset.
“It was pretty interesting,” says David Loganbill, a lifeguard on Oahu for the past 17 years.“At first, to be honest, some of us lifeguards were a little skeptical about having film crews and cameras and sound equipment all around us and following us to every incident that we respond to. But we got used to it pretty quickly.
Lifeguards at tower: Brandon Duhaylonsod,
Mark Dombroski, Frederic Booth and Abe
“They gave us a lot of space, and were very respectful of our job and what we had to do.”
What the lifeguards learned quickly is that in the heat of the moment when you’re dealing with a rescue or any critical situation, you’re not thinking about the cameras.
“We were really welcomed by the Honolulu folks, the lifeguards and ocean rescue people,” says Hersh. “We got tremendous cooperation everywhere we’ve gone, so we couldn’t be more thrilled. These people are inviting us into their workplace and we really appreciate that.”
The show,which airs on Monday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on Court TV (Channel 19 or Channel 119), features the real-life stories of the lifeguards who work in some of the most volatile situations on a daily basis.
Working hand-in-hand with the fire, police and EMS departments, the eight-episode series reveals many daring rescues and hopefully will teach beachgoers how to keep themselves safe by the ocean.
“Many times accidents happen because of alcohol,ignorance or just people underestimating the conditions and the hazards, or they just don’t know about them and may not even listen to us after we talk to them with preventive action,“says Loganbill, who was born and raised in Kailua. “I think for anyone who doesn’t know what we really do or may have a certain stereotype of us, they’re going to see that we are very well-trained professionals who take our jobs very seriously.”
Preventative action is always priority for the lifeguards, such as putting up cautionary signs and personally warning beachgoers about the conditions.And from there it’s up to the beachgoer if they’re willing to listen.
On one show,a lifeguard observes an elderly man being pummeled by the shore breaks of Sandy Beach, hunched over and out of breath. The lifeguard decides to approach the man, warning him of the dangerous surf and advising him to take a break from the water. The man brushes off the warning and immediately jumps right back into the water.
On another show, however, after observing a young boy on a boogie board attempt to surf the shore breaks at Sandy Beach get drilled into the sand continuously, a lifeguard approaches the guardian of the boy. He warns him of the high number of neck and back injuries and explains that what the boy is doing makes him a potential candidate. The guardian immediately calls the boy out of the water.
Routine rescues of swimmers who can’t fight the strong current and find themselves far from shore, cuts and bruises from the pounding surf and even wana (sea urchin) pokes are some of the more mellow encounters that lifeguards often are faced with. Add the pounding waves, language barriers, alcohol and panicked relatives and friends - that’s when lifeguarding becomes a bit more challenging.
In Waikiki,lifeguard Dave Skudin experiences the difficulties of language barriers as is shown in one of the episodes. Aiding a Japanese tourist with a wana poke on her foot, Skudin is unable to tell the woman what he is doing (spraying vinegar on her foot), why it is hurting, and more so that she’ll be OK.
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