SAN DIEGO—When the sun begins to fade and the sunny beaches of San Diego turn to darkness,
"We provide Marine Fire protection for all of Mission Bay and the City of San Diego limits which is from the tip of Point Loma to Torrey Pines and out three miles," said San Diego lifeguard John Bahl.
The majority of emergency calls at night come from boaters in trouble. Some are stuck, others sinking, and some even on fire.
Intoxicated people needing help while out on the water is a common night time rescue.
"We have a lot of alcohol related water emergencies where groups go out swimming and then they get separated and we have to do a search and find them," said Bahl.
The lifeguards are sworn peace officers, and have the authority to arrest people.
As winter draws closer, stormy weather, high surf, and even fog will force these guys out on rescues. Plus lobster season just kicked in and the guards anticipate a higher number of rescues for kayakers and boaters.
In just the last six days, they've had nine emergency calls.
"Those calls included a diver drowning here in Mission Bay that we did CPR on, four divers struggling in a rip in La Jolla, a smuggling boat that was abandoned on the beach, a bunch of swimmers drunk in the water in La Jolla, and another boat that shot off flares that had to be rescued," said San Diego Lifeguard & Rescue's Sgt. Bill Bender.
The night time lifeguards are responsible for covering more than 30 miles of shoreline including Mission Bay with just a team of four per shift.
According to Ed Harris the spokesperson from Teamsters, the union representing the Lifeguards, due to budget cuts, there's talk of cutting that team of four down to just two.