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Action News gets first-hand look at lifeguard rescue drills

by: Jamie Smith Updated:


JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - This summer training could be the difference between life and death for you and your family.

Local lifeguards are putting themselves on the line to save beachgoers. Rescuers hone their skills to make local beaches safe.  Action News’ Jamie Smith got a first-hand look on Tuesday at what goes into their training and what it takes to save a life.

Smith played the role of a missing swimmer 1,000 yards off the coast of Jacksonville to test the coordination between lifeguards and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Smith's morning began in Mayport, where he volunteered to be the victim in the drill.

The Coast Guard took Smith out on a boat to a place off Jacksonville Beach to test rescuers’ response and communication with lifeguards on shore.

“We want to make sure we are speaking the same language that each organization knows what to expect so when a real situation comes we know what to expect when it does,” said Pfc. 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen. 

Jorgensen played a victim alongside Smith.

And just like that, life guards arrived. Jacksonville Beach guards brought Smith onshore in a boat, the closest point for safety and perhaps an ambulance.

“We could have you in ALS unit, could be a 30-minute ride,” said Max Schafer, of Lifeguards Without Borders.

Smith then ventured out again. Atlantic Beach guards found him and brought him back on a jet ski, safely of course.