There's a new program in Flagler Beach, aimed at keeping the beach a little bit safer.

It's called the “Eyes and Ears” program.

Members of the Flagler Beach lifeguard corps are trained to keep their eyes on the lookout for trouble brewing in the surf.

Only now, if they see something that needs police attention around them, they've got a direct line to Flagler Beach's Police Department.

Tim Gillin, the city's Parks and Recreation Director and head of the lifeguard corps explains, “there are some things that are out of the realm of what lifeguards need to be doing and when we've got that direct communication with the police department, the fire department, it just makes all of the departments work together and we're much more efficient.”

This is not to say Flagler Beach is a dangerous place to visit.

Far from it, says the head of the city's police department.

Capt. Matt Doughney tells us this is strictly a proactive move “trying to gain compliance, trying to stop a problem before one occurs.”

Both Doughney and Gillin are adamant: members of the lifeguard corps are not becoming members of the police department.

“That's not what the program is designed for," Captain Doughney stresses. He goes on to say "they're just an extra set of eyes and ears to foresee problems that may occur and to get law enforcement involved and that's where we step in.”

Will this program mean lifeguards will be looking at what's going on behind them, than the surf in front of them?
Gillin doesn't think so.

But during training this year he stressed “our first priority is to watch the water but you kind of need, like a teacher having eyes behind your head.”

Additionally, if you're visiting the beach and see something that's not right, you can tell a lifeguard who will then get that information to the police. As Capt. Doughney says, "see something, say something."


Where the lifeguard towers are

Flagler Beach lifeguard towers stretch from 10th St North to 10th St South. There are three towers south of the Flagler Beach Pier and 5 to the north.

There are 13 lifeguards total on a shift

Lifeguard protection is traditionally provided along Flagler Beach from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day weekend.