The popular Tamarindo beach in the northwest Guanacaste province could soon have its lifeguard program running again after residents began to organize a community- funded initiative.
The initiative, which The Tico Times reported Jan. 25, now has a set budget – $5,000 a month – and is calling on donors to chip in to get the program running by the Easter break, according to a press release from the Tamarindo Improvement Association.
The funds will be used for life-saving equipment, personnel and training, the release said. Funds and hands are also needed to fix up the broken down lifeguard towers that dot the coastline, relics of the beach town’s previous lifeguard program that folded in September 2007 when community funding dried up.
Residents say they want their lifeguards back, given Guanacaste’s treacherous riptides that regularly claim the lives of bathers, such as U.S. tourist Matt McParland, who died in January.
Pushed into action by McParland’s drowning, sisters-in-law Cheryl and Ann McKillican, friends of the victim, joined forces with the community improvement association to make the beach safer. “Matt might have died, but other people don’t have to,” Cheryl McKillican told The Tico Times after the swimming accident.
Donations can be made to the BAC San José bank account number 907498968, the press release states. “We want to have the program in place as soon as possible so that it will be up and running during Semana Santa (Easter break),” the release says.