From the early days of the 20th century, when lifeguard legend “Cap” Watkins rode a horse to make ocean rescues, to present-day crew members who are aided by Baywatch rescue boats, the history of the Santa Monica Lifeguards is one of the most colorful in ocean lifesaving. Under these guards’ careful gaze, Pres. John F. Kennedy swam along the Santa Monica shoreline, Charlie Chaplin collected seashells, and surfing icons Duke Khanamoku and Miki Dora took to the waves. From historic legends to millions of yearly beachgoers, Santa Monica’s lifeguards have provided decades of ocean-lifesaving services. Their work has helped to make Santa Monica Beach the world-renowned destination it is today.
About the Author
Author Arthur C. Verge, a Los Angeles County lifeguard since 1974 and a professor of history at El Camino College, uses a wide range of historic photograph collections, including the scrapbooks of numerous lifeguards, to tell the fascinating story of these longtime guardians of the sea. His photographic retrospective covers the ties of the Santa Monica Lifeguard Service to the early days of silent movies, to the creation of new rescue equipment, and to popularizing the sport of surfing.