By CRAIG ALANIZ
Cameron County has hired a Beach Safety Coordinator to ensure safety at Isla Blanca Park, Andy Bowie Park and County beach access points throughout the year.
Jammie Barnhill was named Beach Safety Coordinator. She said she is working on getting the county beach patrol program ready for the coming season.
She has worked at the University of Texas at Brownsville as the Aquatics and Events Coordinator since May 2010. Barnhill trained aquatics staff, taught safety courses and implemented many programs including a water safety swim lesson program and most recently a bicycle rental program.
Barnhill said she worked with the City of South Padre Island Beach Patrol last season, when they had a contract with Cameron County to patrol both city and county areas. She said she made the move to the Island from Brownsville just before the position was created.
“Everything is fitting into place and I am excited to become a part of this community and to grow with this program,” Barnhill said.
From April to September supervisors and lifeguards will be patrolling the county beach areas, hiring will start soon. Barnhill said she is going to look to hire mature High School and College students with proven swimming ability and comfort in the ocean. Trainings and certifications will be offered to hired staff.
Barnhill said the lifeguard schedule is not confirmed, but she anticipates lifeguards at the parks from around 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily during the summer season.
Barnhill said the County Beach Safety program will strive to be seamless with the other emergency responders in the area. She said her experience with the city’s beach patrol built lasting relationships.
“We are a new program, but I am confident we will work together well to keep South Padre Island beaches as safe as we can,” Barnhill said.
In the offseason, the Beach Safety Program will be doing educational outreach in the community, Barnhill said the best lifeguarding is preventative and is excited to teach others how to enjoy the water safely.
Barnhill said she is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference for the community and to be a part of it. She said talking to the lifeguards is encouraged.
“We want to build relationships and make beach-goers feel comfortable. Ask us for help or present any questions you may have about the beach or safety, we look forward to serving,” Barnhill said.
Read this story in the Feb. 21 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.