Lifeguard services are provided by the Fire Department for the City's public beaches. The Marine Safety division is responsible for providing beach safety services for the 3.5 miles of coastline at Encinitas owned or operated beaches. By performing a variety of valuable public safety services, Encinitas lifeguards attempt to ensure that all beach patrons have a safe and enjoyable time at City beaches. Traditional services include swiftwater, cliff, open and under-water rescues, first-aid, mitigation of safety hazards on the beach and providing safety information to the public. The City’s Junior Lifeguard Program is also coordinated by the Marine Safety division and instruction and operation for this program is provided by City ocean lifeguards. Other duties include beach maintenance (filling holes, fixing stairs, and posting signs), bluff monitoring, crowd control, animal control, code enforcement, litter and lobster trap removals and disposal of marine debris. The purpose of having on-duty lifeguards is to ensure that beach visitors are supervised by individuals who are properly trained and equipped to perform lifesaving functions.

If you are planning a trip to the beach and are concerned about ocean conditions, it is recommended that you call the Encinitas Lifeguards at 760-633-2750 for advice on which beaches to visit and a report of current ocean conditions.

Visitors may also pick up a free tide book at the Moonlight Beach Lifeguard Headquarters.

Have a fun yet safe time on the beach and in the water!

Junior Lifeguards - Thanks for another great season. See you next summer on the beach.

The Encinitas Junior Lifeguard Program is designed to increase awareness of the ocean and its surroundings by teaching children ocean rescue techniques, beach first aid, use of rescue boards and lifeguard equipment, and by offering a variety of fun, educational opportunities, such as field trips and competitions with other agencies. For more information call 760-633-2752.

Sky Lanterns are Fire Hazards

Airborne paper lanterns are known to travel significant distances
Sky lanterns are serious fire and safety hazards
Click here for the Sky Lantern Bulletin for the CA State Fire Marshal

Beach and Ocean Safety Tips

Encinitas has some of the area’s most popular beaches, attracting millions of visitors every year. Although most visitors can expect to enjoy a pleasant stay at the beach, potential for accidents do occur. If you will be visiting the beach please keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Swim near a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.
  • 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. 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 and obey warning signs in dangerous areas.
  • No glass containers on the beach. Broken glass and bare feet don’t mix.
  • Build fires only in fire rings. Fire residue and superheated sand can severely burn bare feet.
  • When cooking, use a barbecue that is elevated off the sand.
  • Avoid stingrays by shuffling your feet along the bottom.
  • If you receive a sting from a stingray or jellyfish seek treatment from a lifeguard.
  • Have courtesy and respect for others.
  • Report suspicious criminal activity to a Sheriff deputy or lifeguard.

Rip Currents

A rip current is a seaward moving current that circulates water back to sea after it is pushed ashore by waves. Rip currents are one of the most threatening natural hazards along our coast, often pulling victims away from the shallow waters near the shoreline out into the deep sea. The United States Lifesaving Association has found that 80% of the rescues made by ocean lifeguards involve saving those caught in rip currents.

Lifeguards advise that those visiting the beach avoid swimming where rip currents are present. If you become caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops and then return to shore. If you are unable to return to shore, tread water and wave for lifeguard assistance.

Remember, always be aware of ocean conditions. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards and are available to assist swimmers in identifying locations where rip currents are present. Be sure to ask a lifeguard about ocean conditions before entering the water.
Where can you get more information about rip currents? Visit NOAA’s website  for live rip current reports, surf reports, and more.

Bluff Failures

Sandstone bluffs and cliffs situated along the Encinitas coastline are some of the unique features that distinguish our beaches from others in the county. Because of frequent bluff failures, a great deal of consideration has been given to ensuring the safety of those who visit our beaches. Please be aware that in most areas hiking near or directly on top of the bluffs is prohibited. It is also important for visitors to avoid standing or sitting directly underneath unstable bluffs, since they may collapse.

The City has placed warning signs at several locations that are unsafe and should be avoided. If you see a bluff failure occur, please report the incident to a lifeguard or call the Encinitas Fire Department at 633-2800.

For more beach safety tips, please see the Encinitas Beach Safety Guide.

Pool Safety

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths in California for children under the age of 5 and the second leading cause of death in children under 14. Small children often "drown without a sound," even when adults are present. It's often assumed that "someone" is watching the pool.

The Encinitas Fire Department is dedicated to increasing public awareness to prevent these unnecessary accidents. We encourage you to appoint a responsible adult "Water Watcher" to supervise children during pool and spa activities.

To help parents and care givers, free pool safety kits are available at all Encinitas Fire Stations and City Hall. Each kit includes educational materials and lanyards for Water Watchers to wear while supervising children at pools and spas. When you need to take a break, pass the lanyard on to another responsible adult.

Public Education

To arrange for a public education visit to your school or group, please contact the Encinitas Lifeguard Administration at 760-633-2749.