Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab hosts lifeguard training on beach safety and sharks

The Shark Lab workshop focuses on juvenile white sharks and their movement patterns and behavior.

Amanda Palacios Image
Monday, April 29, 2024
Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab hosts lifeguard training
Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab prioritizes beach safety through lifeguard training workshop on sharks.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- As the summer season approaches, beach safety is a top priority for the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach.

"So the Shark Lab is one of the oldest shark research labs in the country. And we specialize in the study of shark behavior and ecology," Chris Lowe, director at the Shark Lab.

To help lifeguards gain a better understanding of sharks, the Shark Lab hosted a lifeguard training workshop on campus.

"So every year, we host a workshop for lifeguards because we want them to know about the latest research, the latest things that we're finding," Lowe said.

"One of our primary species of focus is the juvenile and great white shark. So the reason we have this seminar for the lifeguards is to really give them the tools and the knowledge to be able to inform the public about what the sharks are doing at these beaches," said Emily Spurgeon, a research technician at the Shark Lab.

The Shark Lab says they use information and data collected from sharks to provide the most accurate shark-related training to lifeguards.

"We learned a lot of new things about the data collected around shark behavior and their tendencies in terms of near coastal interactions with people going in the ocean and the different activities that they partake in," said Peter Rodrick, a Coronado beach lifeguard.

"One thing that stood out to me was that although the shark population has increased over the years, the number of interactions or negative interactions and incidents with sharks has not gone up at all," said Brian Clark, a San Diego marine safety lieutenant.

The Shark Lab relies on state funding to continue its research and partnerships with lifeguards. However, come September, the funds are anticipated to run out which means all the hard work the program has done could come to an end.

"It doesn't look like we're going to get any more state funding because the state budget is bad. So right now, we're seeking funding. We don't want to get to a situation where people are calling white sharks just to make people feel safer if that is not needed," Lowe said.

"A lot of our funding we are seeking right now. So if anyone has private foundations or cities or anyone can give us a letter of support as well, we would greatly appreciate all that," Spurgeon said.

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