Central Fire District responds to a number of water rescue incidents across miles of coastline, with beaches and ocean cliffs that boast some of the busiest beaches in Santa Cruz County as well as several world class surf breaks. Thousands of locals and tourists flock each year to our beautiful beaches for recreation and business.
In 2003, both Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District & Central Fire Protection District began an ocean and surf rescue team for primary life safety response to emergencies in the ocean. Now that the District's have combined, we currently have 20-23 rescue swimmers who are certified by USLA with ARRT certification. Our swimmers pass a 40 hour USLA course, then have annual refresher training of 24 hours and must pass an annual swim test of 1,000 yards in the open ocean in under 20 minutes. Physical demands of open ocean swimming and rescue require that the team members remain in top physical shape year round. These outstanding individuals are full time Firefighters, Firefighter Paramedics, and Captains with Central Fire Protection District that add the rescue swimmer job to their regular work duties.
Our surf rescue team works closely with allied agencies in Santa Cruz County including Santa Cruz City Marine Safety, California State Parks, Santa Cruz Harbor Patrol, and the U.S. Coast Guard.