The City of Del Mar Lifeguards began in 1965 with four full time guards.  San Diego County provided lifeguard services 1941-1964. Currently there are five full time lifeguards and 45 seasonal employees.  The lifeguards operate year round and are on duty from 8:00a.m. until a hour hour after sundown.  Lifeguards are also attached to the 911 system for after-hour calls and specialty response teams such as Swift Water, Cliff, and SCUBA rescue.

Services & Responsibilities

The Lifeguard Department serves the community with a wide variety of community service programs. The Department staffs full-time and seasonal lifeguards. Lifeguards patrol and oversee 2.5 miles of beach. Each day, lifeguards establish and maintain safe swimming and surfing areas. They warn visitors of dangerous swimming areas, rip currents, and unstable cliffs and bluffs.  Lifeguard responsibilities include water rescue of swimmers and surfers, emergency medical care, boat rescues, swift-water rescue teams for river or flood emergencies, missing persons, and other related emergencies.  Environmental conditions are constantly monitored and weather and surf are updated and posted throughout the day. The Del Mar beach has strong rip currents and several inshore holes. The department averages 800 water-related rescues and 1,100 medical aids per year with roughly three million visitors annually.

Lifeguard Training

Lifeguard training is extensive and in accordance with United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) standards. Del Mar lifeguards are highly trained in several areas. Qualifications include emergency medical technician (EMT) with advanced airway and defibrillator accreditation, emergency vehicle operations, FEMA incident command courses, and Technical Animal Rescue (TAR). The Department operates year-round cliff, swift water and scuba rescue teams. The Department also cross trains for mutual aid response with local agencies including the San Diego Sheriff's Department, Del Mar Fire Department, regional lifeguard agencies, and the United States Coast Guard. 

PC-832 Certification

The City's full-time lifeguards are also PC-832 certified which provides the training and knowledge to issue citations for infractions of City, County of San Diego, and State of California codes that may occur on the beach such as underage drinking, animal violations, operating a business or gathering without a permit, fires, smoking, and parking violations.


Our highly trained and motivated team strives to maintain the highest quality public safety services for the citizens and visitors of Del Mar through prevention, rescue, education, and beach management.  We provide the public with a welcoming atmosphere, safe beach and ocean environment and use of our recreational resources.

Beach Safety Tips

  • Swim near a lifeguard and never swim alone.
  • Designate a water watcher and supervise children closely even when lifeguards are present.
  • Don’t rely on floatation devices such as rafts, when swimming.
  • If caught in a rip current, DO NOT PANIC. Swim parallel to the shore until out of the current’s pull.
  • Alcohol and swimming don’t mix.
  • Stay clear of lobster traps or other similar objects. If you find a trap in shallow waters, report it to a lifeguard.
  • If you are in trouble, call or wave for help.
  • Always follow regulations and lifeguard directions by reading public signage and following public address advisories.
  • No glass containers on the beach. Broken glass and bare feet don’t mix.
  • No fires or charcoal BBQs.
  • Avoid stingrays by shuffling your feet along the bottom. If you receive a sting from a stingray or a jellyfish, seek treatment from a lifeguard.
  • Have courtesy and respect for others.
  • Beat the heat and block the sun by drinking plenty of water, use a broad spectrum 15 to 50 SPF sunscreen, wear SPF protective clothing, and UV ray blocking sunglasses.
  • Pack and pack out trash and recyclables. 
  • Avoid digging large holes in the sand and filled immediately before leaving the area.  Holes should be limited in depth to less than the depth of the mid-thigh level of the smallest person in the group.  

For further safety related information from the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), please review their website here

For shark and other beach wildlife information, please visit the California State Long Beach Shark Lab here.