FAQ

VLSC–COJB DISPUTE

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The COJB was investigated by the Department of Labor due to a complaint by a former employee who was also a former VLSC member. The Department of Labor investigation discovered too many similarities between the COJB and VLSC noting that joint training, shared personnel, and especially shared leadership created a violation of FLSA. The result of this investigation was the COJB unilaterally entering voluntary compliance by back paying all COJB Ocean Rescue employees for two years that volunteered with the VLSC. In addition, the COJB decided to remove the VLSC from guarding the beach on Sundays and Holidays without consulting the VLSC on alternatives or considering the damages to the VLSC and its members. This action by the COJB created mistrust in a longstanding relationship and created a chaotic environment for all personnel volunteering/working at the American Red Cross Life Saving Corps Station.

The VLSC expended its own funds to hire their own Labor Attorney to analyze the investigation and work with the COJB to reestablish a working relationship. The VLSC’s Attorney submitted a legal summary that states if the VLSC volunteers do not work for the COJB then all FLSA violations would be resolved. This policy has been added to current VLSC Policies and shared with the COJB. In addition, the COJB drafted an operating agreement and the VLSC reviewed the agreement then submitted suggested revisions. This agreement was terminated after the first iteration due to an accusation by COJB Ocean Rescue staff member alleging harassment by VLSC volunteers. These accusations were never investigated, nor discussed with the VLSC prior to termination.

After the accusations were made the City Manager changed the locks on the American Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps building therefore locking out all volunteers from a facility it did not own, build, or maintain. Peaceful compliance with the lockout was agreed upon internally by the VLSC to help facilitate resolution to the issue. This action physically shut out the volunteers and ended all discussions related to VLSC sustainability and stewardship of the Station. The VLSC’s only option was to immediately file a lawsuit against the COJB for breach of contract and damages accrued to defend the organization from the COJB actions.

Since the suit was filed the VLSC has consistently asked the COJB for mediation or to return to discussions to resolve differences. The COJB has refused mediation or further discussions with the VLSC.

The only viable action besides continuing an extensive and expensive lawsuit was to initiate a citizen led referendum to force the COJB to negotiate with the VLSC for its continued existence and to secure long-term stewardship of the Station. The referendum petitions were signed by 19% of the Jacksonville Beach registered voters in just 17 days then the petitions were submitted to the Supervisor of Elections for certification. The petitions are now certified and awaiting further action by the COJB Council to place the referendum on the ballot.

Although the VLSC has continued to reach out for coordination with the COJB amongst the attorneys on both sides the meetings to date have been short and unproductive. This coordination was intended to allow the attorneys to discuss the referendum process and answer any questions. The effort to communicate between attorneys has failed horribly and it leaves the VLSC questioning the intent of the COJB in dealing with the referendum.

The VLSC is a 110-year-old organization that is the only one of its kind in the United States. The organization’s purpose is charitable in nature, training the young people to save lives. This COJB is unique in using the public-private partnership to safeguard its most valuable asset, the beachfront, from tragic loss of life. The citizens of Jacksonville Beach should be alarmed that our government officials would dismiss this great service and dismiss the millions of dollars this service has saved the city over the last century.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

When you see a flag flying on a lifeguard tower, it means that a lifeguard is on duty. Sometimes you will see a lifeguard dropping their flag, waving their flag, and sometimes placing their flag at a 90 degree angle while standing on top of their tower. Those acts are acts of relaying emergency information between other lifeguards nearby.

Do not touch the sting site. Immediately seek lifeguard attention for appropriate treatment. Usually, treatment for a jellyfish sting is a mixture of vinegar and saline water which helps alleviate the pain. Please remember that one who is allergic to bees, wasps, and/or ants is possibly allergic to jellyfish as well.

No. According to Jacksonville Beach City Ordinance Sec. 16-10, sleeping, lodging, and camping is not allowed on the beach at any time.

Handicap accessible ramps are located at 5th Ave. North, Beach Blvd and 1st Street, and 6th Ave. South.

Beach wheelchairs are also available at the Lifeguard Station. Please call the Lifeguard Station at 904-249-9141.

Lifeguards throughout the United States have adopted a set of flags to alert bathers of the present ocean conditions. In the absence of condition flags, bathers should be cautious of going into the water.

  • Green Flag- Calm Ocean Conditions. Swim near a lifeguard.
  • Yellow Flag- Moderate Ocean Conditions. Waves, long-shore currents, and rip currents are present; danger may increase greatly depending on tide and/or location. Check with your lifeguard before entering the water.
  • Red Flag- Dangerous Ocean Conditions. Persistent large waves, strong long-shore current, strong rip currents.
  • Double Red Flag- No water activity allowed. Water is closed.
  • Purple Flag- Dangerous Marine Life Present. Although there is always dangerous marine life in the ocean, when the purple flag is seen flown, bathers should be alert that there is an influx of dangerous marine life at the time.

When family members get separated from their children, they need to immediately report to the nearest lifeguard. It is highly advised that you look for your missing child before seeking assistance. In the event that there is not a lifeguard present, call 911 immediately. We recommend that you teach your child to go to the lifeguard immediately in the event that they cannot find the people they came to the beach with.

Restrooms are located at 2nd Ave. North, 5th Ave. North, and 19th Ave. North.

Outdoor showers are located at 2nd Ave. North, 5th Ave. North, 19th Ave. North, and 7th Ave. South

When a lifeguard is whistling at you, they are trying to alert you to move away from a dangerous area, such as in a rip current. You should follow all of the lifeguard’s hand signals. In the event that you do not know what to do or whether or not the lifeguard is whistling at you, you should get out of the water and ask the lifeguard.

Of course; click here to fill out a request sheet and a lifeguard will be in touch as soon as possible.

Click here to see the many ways you can give back to the VLSC.

Toggle Content