Posted by Sharon Schendel on Dec 16, 2018
Deputy Chief Lifeguard for Del Mar Mark Rathsam and Lifeguard Kaitlyn Rosenthal demonstrate the features of the Aqua Lung rescue equipment
Brett Mattei outlined the need for a oceanfront Marine Safety Center in Rosarito Beach 
As St. Peter’s hosts the Interfaith Shelter, we moved our meeting site to Powerhouse Park in Del Mar on December 13, 2018.  The meeting included a thanks from Deputy Chief Lifeguard for Del Mar, Mark Rathsam for rapid response gear that will be critical for finding and rescuing swimmers in distress around Del Mar.  Lifeguard Kaitlyn Rosenthal demonstrated how quickly and easily the ~$2,000 Aqua Lung kits can be donned.  The club donated funds for purchase of two of the kits that will be part of the Del Mar Lifeguards battery of rescue equipment.
Our speaker for the meeting was President-Elect Brett Mattei, himself an experienced lifeguard, who is leading the effort to build a new Marine Safety Center for Rosarito Beach in the town of Rosarito, which lies just 10 miles south of the US border and is a popular destination for San Diegans and tourists alike.  
Brett explained that Rosarito Beach has around 800,000 patrons annually and is staffed by two year-round on call lifeguards and around 20 seasonal guards. Nonetheless, around 5 swimmers drown each year at Rosarito Beach- an unacceptably high rate that can be attributed in part to extended response times associated with the remote location of the lifeguard headquarters that are about 6 blocks from the beach.  The proposed Marine Safety Center will provide an oceanfront facility that will dramatically decrease response times and increase situational awareness of the lifeguards who staff the station. The project will be a collaboration between Baja and Southern California Rotary Clubs, with Rotary Clubs of Del Mar and Playas de Rosarito acting as leads.
Designs for the center were donated by club member Kit Leeger and her team with assistance from McKinley Associates. The advance team had located a site for the Center, and the local governmental agencies were highly supportive of the project, but unfortunately agencies at the national level already had plans in place for the proposed site, so the team is now looking for an alternate location. The budget for the project is $120,000 and is slated for completion between 2020 and 2021. Brett will be visiting clubs around District 5340 to seek support for the project and will also welcome donations that are designated for the project, as well as assistance with design of promotional materials.  Together, these efforts will realize a Marine Safety Center that will increase the confidence of visitors to Rosarito area beaches.