Better than Baywatch!
Reality show follows Huntington Beach lifeguards as they protect visitors at area’s beautiful beaches. Marine Safety Chief Kyle Lindo is ready for his close-up. Or at least, he thinks his department is.
At 8 p.m. Tuesday, Huntington Beach lifeguards will be front-and-center on the reality show “Ocean Force,” which follows lifeguards around on emergency calls all summer. Renamed from “Beach Patrol” for its fifth season, the show is a major part of the relaunch of cable channel Court TV as the reality-oriented TruTV.
The “COPS”-like show doesn’t start till New Year’s Day, but those interested in the daily challenges of local lifeguards can get a taste at www.trutv.com. Web videos featuring Huntington Beach lifeguards show them handling a feud between animal owners on Dog Beach, and calming a diabetic man with behavioral problems and dangerously high blood sugar.
Those are minor incidents compared with some of the biggest rescues in the show, Lindo said. It was an intensely busy summer for the Marine Safety Division, with rescues up by 35% over the year before, spinal injuries up by more than half, and four cases in which a defibrillator was needed, he said.
“We were able to resuscitate a 14-year-old child that had a heart defect” in one case, he said. “Medical experts said that if we weren’t there so quickly, they may not have made it.”
In addition to making it into the first episode, that incident will be the basis of a training video for lifeguards throughout the country, Lindo said.
As part of the city delegation reviewing all the footage before it was used, Lindo said he also wanted to make sure nobody got the wrong idea about Huntington Beach.
“Our statistics were up, but the majority of the 10 million people that come to the beach have a great time,” he said. “We didn’t want an imbalance of too many ocean rescues or too many medical aids. We didn’t want the perception to be there that it’s just chaos here.”
The final result is a program that shows off the professionalism of the lifeguards and displays Huntington Beach as a great place to visit the water, he said.
“Watching the events in the show, you see the beautiful beach: sand, fire rings, palm trees,” Lindo said. “When you dream of what an ideal beach is, you’re going to see it in the backdrop of the show.”