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More Lifeguards Sought Along the Beaches

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 01 January, 2011

(Acapulco, NA 1 January) The corps of lifeguards that watch over Guerrero’s entire Pacific coastline numbers just 274. This is not nearly enough, according to tourist services providers in Acapulco. “When somebody drowns in the ocean, it reflects poorly on us,” they say, “but usually the cause is intoxication.” The majority of tourists from inland Mexico do not know how to swim, and when they come to Acapulco and start tippling on the beaches, they apparently forget that small detail. Last year, two tourists drowned in Pie de la Cuesta because they were inebriated when a large wave carried them into the deeper waters. This season so far, four persons have drowned along Guerrero’s beach front.

Mario López Alberto, who helps with boat rentals along the beaches, says that lifeguards only appear on long weekends and at vacation times. During rest of the year, when someone gets into trouble in the water, the people who work at the beaches undertake the rescue. A restaurant owner noted that on Icacos Beach, which is a half mile long, there is only one life guard tower, and it is often empty. “The waiters and the boat people are the ones who save the vacationers. It’s only for that reason that no one has drowned here in the last two years.” Many of those rescued by locals are unsupervised children who venture too far into the water.

Lifeguards also serve to reduce petty theft, which is a common complaint on the more crowded beaches. The people who make their livelihoods on the beaches also have asked that signs be provided at reasonable intervals, warning tourists not to swim while drunk, to watch over their children, to safeguard their valuables, and to call an emergency number if a problem arises.