What it’s Like To Be Charge of Stinson Beach Junior Lifeguard Program


IF YOU FIND yourself in trouble in the water at Stinson Beach, maybe caught up in a powerful rip current, you may meet Jen Glazier. At 32, the ocean rescue specialist is highly experienced at pulling people safely out of places they shouldn’t be. In less stressful moments, she coordinates the National Park Service’s summer Junior Lifeguard program. When did you start lifeguarding? I became a lifeguard when I was 15. You’ve worked here for how long? Four years. I am a full-time, seasonal employee. I work from the beginning of May through the end of October. How often do you need to help people in the water? More this year than we have the last three years, because the beach has changed and there are a lot more rip currents. I’ve gone in already twice, maybe three times this year. Have you ever been unable to rescue someone? In 2012, I was guarding for a triathlon on the Russian River and I had to pull this lady out and give her CPR, but she died on me. She’d had a heart attack. How traumatic that must have been. It focused me on wanting to take care of people. I got my EMT. I got certified in ocean rescue. I’ve gone back to nursing school and I hope one day to be a flight nurse. Flight nurse? Work on a helicopter during urgent rescue situations. How do people get in trouble in the ocean? The biggest problem is people who just aren’t used to being in the water. I rescued a guy last weekend who was on a boogie board and the current was pulling him out. I asked him if he knew how to swim and he said no. I told him, “You probably shouldn’t be in the water up to your chest, dude.” You’re not a big person. How much strength do you need for this job? I’m a short female and all the people I’ve rescued have been males. You have to have the strength to swim somebody in. As a female, you have to be strong and be willing and able to do most of the stuff that the men can. My mom always used to say, “Some people are made to pull the cart and some people are made to sit in it.” I was made to pull it. I have to bring up Baywatch. It’s OK. Is there anything you actually do here that resembles that TV show? We wear red and we have rescue tubes. That’s it. We don’t run in slow motion and it’s not ever pretty when we go to rescue someone.

Jen Glazier, lifeguard, Stinson Beach