SANTA ROSA BEACH — Funding for the renewal of the South Walton Fire District's beach safety contract has been approved by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners.
The approval, which came at the commission's Jan. 8 meeting, made the SWFD the sole provider of the beach safety program for a 13th consecutive year, according to a news release from the fire district. The latest contract will be in effect for the next four years.
Under the new contract, beach safety services will extend for an extra month. Previously, those services had been in place from March 1-Sept. 30. The new contract will extend beach safety services through Oct. 31. In addition under the new contract, the South Walton Fire District will provide five full-time salaried employees to ensure beach safety services from November through February in each of the agreement's four years.
In other developments, the new contract will provide for the purchase of new all-terrain vehicles, two rescue personal watercrafts and three service trucks.
Also in the news release, SWFD officials indicated they are "proud to have the opportunity to work with the Walton County Tourist Development Council and our public safety partners to provide preventative education, awareness and protection to the citizens and visitors that enjoy our beautiful beaches in South Walton."
In response to the contract, the Walton County TDC released a statement calling the award "a great step for South Walton, reflecting the increase in visitation that we have seen over recent years. As we work to strengthen the local economy by encouraging visitation during the shoulder seasons, that success also makes it necessary for us to continue to support and increase amenities that benefit locals and visitors alike."
In related news, the SWFD’s Beach Safety Division is accepting applications for the 2019 lifeguard season. For more information, go online to www.swfd.org/contact-us/careers.