San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tamarindo Lifeguard Program Threatened

Swimmers at the northwestern Guanacaste beach of Tamarindo could soon find themselves with no one to help them if they get into trouble – a shortage of funds could mean no more lifeguards on this beach, according to Federico Amador, director of the nonprofit Tamarindo Improvement Association, which runs the lifeguard program.

The association has asked local hotels to pitch in for the program, which costs about $6,000 per month and employs four lifeguards along the beach from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, he said. No hotels have stepped up to help, Amador said.

“They’ve offered to help with other projects, but none has offered the money needed,” he said, adding that the hotels benefit from safety provided to tourists at Tamarindo.

During the three years the lifeguard program has been around, there has been only one daytime drowning at Tamarindo, compared to several drownings at nearby Playa Langosta, which does not have lifeguards, according to a statement from the association. Tamarindo lifeguards get swimmers out of dangerous situations several times a day.

The association plans to maintain the program through Sept. 15 and hopes that necessary funds will be raised by then, Amador said. If not, it will suspend the program during the tourism low season in hopes of coming up with the money before more tourists roll in around November.

“Time has beat us and the funds aren’t going to be enough,” he said. “This is a program that has saved a lot of lives and it’s worrisome that there is no consciousness that if we lose it, that could result in an even bigger loss – the loss of a life.”


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