By Ellen Zoe Golden Photo by Carla Rowlings
After years of using a makeshift, smaller-size tower, the Tamarindo Lifeguards now once again have a new, serviceable facility in which to perch for rescues and store the necessary equipment to do their job. This is the second time that Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Tamarindo and the people who donate their time and money to this cause have organized the construction of a proper lifeguard tower. The original tower was destroyed three years ago when the Tamarindo Estuary unexpectedly changed its course, bringing its southern boundary closer towards the main parking lot with a high tide line closer to properties that lined beach.
“It was decided to rebuild the tower after several years of having a small one that did not meet the conditions for the people and their emergencies, or provide comfort for the lifeguards who work in the tower,” said José Carlos Sequeira Sequeira, Asistente Administrativo de ADI Tamarindo. “ADI realized that in order for them to offer daily service with a direct impact on the beach, we needed to seek financing to build a new, renovated tower.”
As the first tower was destroyed by a natural event, there is little that ADI can do to prevent the same thing from happening again, Sequira explained, adding that the river went back to its traditionally positioning.
The design of the tower was created by LSD, and its architect Rodolfo Tinoco, known for his many collaborations with ADI for the community. The public construction company González took about 1 ½ months to complete the work, with funds from donations as well as resources from the Law of the Maritime Terrestrial Zone. Santa Cruz Municipal engineer Diego Rodríguez Galagarza was also instrumental in ADI securing financing.
Jonathan Tompson is in charge of all things relating to the new tower with assistance from Ezequiel Ledezma. He sets the lifeguard’s hours, oversees the maintenance of the tower, and organizes the first aid courses necessary to upgrade the lifesaving measures in place on Tamarindo beach. Since 2016, the Tamarindo Lifeguards have rescued or cared for 895 people. Last year they recorded 250 rescues in the water, on the beach, and on the nearby street.
The two men who work daily in the tower are paid their salaries from donations to ADI as well as by Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. Sequeira said the Lifeguard program is “one of the most important projects to maintain due to the high level of visits to the beach.”
Among the issues that occur at the beach are non-water related body damage, health emergencies, effects of strong waves and currents, a lack of swimming knowledge, and more. The lifeguards have basic medical assistance training and also issue warnings about environmental conditions. Additionally, they work hand-in-hand with the various surf coaches and schools to prevent incidents that put lives at risk.
The inauguration of the new tower was attended by members of the ADI board of directors, and its President Urs Schmidt issued words of support for the Lifeguard Program. He was joined by members of the Santa Cruz Municipality. There was an official ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off the use of the new tower.
Sequeira noted that very soon the lifeguards will receive additional rescue equipment to be stored at the tower including a stretcher, more first aid supplies, and aquatic rescue gear.