RBP captain: Public safety will not be impacted in Rehoboth

With construction of new home underway, beach patrol will split operations this summer
May 24, 2024

From not being tasked with protecting Deauville Beach to the Rehoboth Beach Patrol project, Memorial Day visitors who are returning to the Nation’s Summer Capital for the first time since last summer will see noticeable changes in lifeguarding operations.

Rehoboth Beach Patrol Capt. Jeff Giles said the important thing is that it will be the same as it’s always been in the places where it matters most – on the beach and in the water.

“The public’s not going to see anything different,” said Giles. “Public safety will not be impacted at all.”

The city’s lifeguards take their stands for the summer Saturday, May 25. At 65 lifeguards and support personnel, Giles, who is entering his fourth season as captain, said they are fully staffed, with a good mix of veterans and rookies.

The most notable difference for the beach patrol this summer will be a split operation because of the ongoing construction of the beach patrol’s new headquarters on Baltimore Avenue.

Giles said the plan is to have EMS personnel stationed at the visitors center at the end of Delaware Avenue, immediately north of Funland. Lifeguards will be stationed on a dirt parking lot, immediately south of the Village Improvement Association’s home, he said, adding that patrol ATVs will be located at Delaware and Virginia avenues.

The lifeguards will come in every morning, get their workouts in, get their assignments and then disperse, said Giles. 

The temporary home of the lifeguards won’t be luxurious – it’s basically an air-conditioned shipping container. Giles said there will be two 10-by-10-foot tents set up for the guards to get out of the rain or find a shady place to relax.

“Otherwise, we’re going to be living outside this year,” he said.

As of press deadline May 23, signs telling beachgoers of the split operation hadn’t been installed, but Giles said they will be. The plan is to have a sign on the fence surrounding the Baltimore Avenue construction site with arrows pointing people in the right direction, he said.

Over the course of the winter, the city and state couldn’t reach an agreement on a new contract for the city to continue its management of Deauville Beach. Giles said that section of beach represents about a quarter of the total beach area the lifeguards had to watch, but it was also one of the least-populated areas. He said not having to cover the Deauville Beach stretch means there will now be a stand at New Castle Street and a double stand at the farthest point south.

Giles said he’s been in contact with Delaware State Parks Beach Patrol Capt. Bailey Noel, and they’ve worked out an arrangement to work together in times of emergency. He said the state parks lifeguards have been given a couple of radios so the two entities can communicate as needed.

“There are going to be lost kids coming from the Deauville Beach direction that are heading toward Rehoboth,” said Giles, providing an example for the need for communication. “They’ll do cover downs for us and we’ll do cover downs for them.”

The temporary loss of the patrol’s headquarters does mean there will be a couple of changes to programs and events.

The junior lifeguard program typically takes place on the beach in front of Baltimore Avenue. This year, it’s likely to take place on the beach in front of Grenoble Place, said Giles.

Additionally, the United States Lifesaving Association’s annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships will be held at Tower Road beach in Delaware Seashore State Park, immediately south of Dewey Beach. Typically, that event is also held on the beach in front of Baltimore Avenue.

There will be no change to the location of the annual Lifeguard Olympics and Junior Lifeguard Olympics. Giles said Rehoboth will still be hosting those events as usual.

The city is pushing to have the construction of the new headquarters done by this time next year. With that ending in mind, Giles said he’s taking this summer in stride.

“It’s going to be a great facility,” said Giles.

Rehoboth Beach Patrol lifeguards will be on duty through three weeks following Labor Day in September. Guards are on their stands 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays, and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekends and holidays. For more information, go to, email or call 302-227-2280.


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