SUMMER 2020 LIFEGUARD SERIES
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a weekly feature that will highlight one of the many wonderful lifeguards that keep our locals and visitors safe as they enjoy the beaches up and down Coastal Delaware.
Following his graduation from high school back in 2013, Chris Javens never gave lifeguarding a thought. Instead, his focus was on preparing to continue his ice hockey career. He had aspirations of landing at a Division I program, but he would wind up at Division III Stevenson University instead.
The recent Business Administration graduate has been patrolling the beaches in Bethany for five years now, and he has been making his own waves on the stand and in the sand every year.
“I got connected to the Bethany Beach Patrol through Christian Sears,” admitted Javens. “He worked at my high school in Bethesda, Md. I went to the Landon School there. He would always make an announcement at the end of the year to the graduating class about looking for a summer job and a good opportunity to reach out for the beach patrol.
“I didn’t initially consider it after graduating high school, I was interested in pursuing college (ice) hockey. I was training a lot over the first summer for Division I, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately. I wanted to find something that I could dedicate myself to other than just hockey, and I remembered Christian’s announcement. Being a lifeguard had always kind of crossed my mind, but I had never really known what the difference was between a beach lifeguard and a pool lifeguard. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience being a beach lifeguard. Honestly, my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”
Javens, the son of Chris L. Javens and Maria Valencia, has created many great memories and friendships over these past five years. He has also made quite the name for himself in the process. Last year, Javens was named the Lifeguard of the Year for the Bethany Beach Patrol.
“I was very honored to be recognized with the award,” continued Javens. “We have a great team with the Bethany Patrol. The people we have is one of the things I really like about the job. We have so many personalities that have different interests and different backgrounds. If I really had to narrow it down, it’s a job where you really get out what you put in.”
Javens’ work ethic and leadership has stuck out for the Bethany Beach Patrol Captain Joe Donnelly.
“I am extremely proud of what Chris has accomplished during his tenure on the beach patrol,” Donnelly said. “His approach to the job and his emerging leadership helps make us better each day.”
Being a lifeguard is certainly more than just sitting on a stand and watching over people. There does come a time when you have to jump into action to help someone in distress.
“The hardest part is through people who aren’t locals that don’t visit the beach often, adjusting to the sand, and always being barefoot,” said Javens, who has two siblings - a brother, Andrew, and a sister, Cristina. “I don’t really keep track of the rescues that I’ve had over the years. Maybe I kept track my first year, but since then I haven’t really kept track.”
For Javens, he really is enjoying his time on the Bethany Beach Patrol, and looks to continue to put in the work to get stronger and help his fellow guards get better every day.
“Each year, if you put in the work, and progressively put effort into what you are doing, it is a pretty remarkable and rewarding job,” he concluded
The Bethany Beach Patrol is a United States Lifesaving Association Advanced Certified Agency that serves the residents and visitors of the Town of Bethany Beach.
The 30-member beach patrol provides rescue services including ocean rescue, First Responder care, and general public service.
The beach patrol, with the assistance of the police department, enforces all Town rules and regulations regarding the beach.
Lifeguards patrol the beaches full time from Memorial Day Saturday until Labor Day Monday and weekends throughout September.
If you are interested in becoming a lifeguard next year or in the future, the first step in the hiring process is to submit your name and contact information to Donnelly by phone at 302-430-8013.From there, he will arrange a tryout and interview to be conducted some time during the spring prior to the upcoming summer.Open tryouts typically take place through March and April or by appointment as agreed upon by the applicant and Captain.
Among the events in the open tryout that one must complete successfully to be considered for a lifeguard position, but are not limited to 500-meter swim in under 10 minutes, a 1-mile run in under 8:00 minutes, a 150 soft-sand sprint run, a 50-meter sprint swim, ad a simulated rescue.
ANNUAL LIFEGUARD COMPETITION
The Bethany Beach Patrol participates in many local, regional, and national lifesaving competitions. Their guards compete in various swimming, running, paddling, and relay events.
The competitions are a great way to challenge their skills as well as build camaraderie with other ocean rescue agencies up and down Coastal Delaware. The Bethany Beach Lifeguards take great pride in representing the Town of Bethany Beach at each one of the competition events.