Archive for March, 2011


Date: Sunday March 20, 4:15 pm

Project Ecuador began in Playas and they now have an elite group of 15 lifeguards with the longest history of support from City Hall. Mayor Michael Achi has full time lifeguards on the payroll. A great significance is the history of EC lifeguards. Playas was led by Jason Hudson from North Carolina Corolla Beach. Playas is one of the most crowded beaches in the world and probably most dangerous because of the surf. Jason was joined by Newport Beach Lifeguard Flavia McBride, Corolla Beach Lifeguard Katie Harm, LA County Lifeguard, Randal Fenderson and Ecuadorian Andres Salmimento, plus volunteer Henry Reyes and Julia Sanchez.playas-lifeguards-in-parade1


Playas Lifeguards in new uniforms pose for a group photo before a recent parade.

These guys look great!  Salvavidas del Ecuador!!






Date: Sunday March 20, 4:09 pm

For the first year, Project Ecuador volunteers helped Salinas and the Mayor welcomed our volunteers with a public ceremony showing unity in our efforts.  Director Gabriela Munoz Ocana and her brother, Miguel Munoz helped organize our mission in this region.


Lifeguards without Borders from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, led this region with Matt Duffy at the helm along with Dr. Justin Sempsrott stateside.  Matt was joined by 13 fellow JAX guards, Gust Hapsis, Chris Saggau, Casey Donnell, James Lentz, Michel Schindler, Taylor Anderson, Bill Posch, Alex McKellop, Duncan Campbell, Eli Phillips, Josh Langley, Erica Moyer and Rosan Patel.  Photographer Mike Bradshaw joined this team for his 2nd year covering our mission.  The Salinas Fire Dept. lifeguards collaborated with Project Ecuador to help 4 beaches, one that was previously closed due to recent drownings.  JAX guards made a major multiple rescue at this dangerous beach restoring confidence to tourists.  A second group of 6 Santa Barbara lifeguards helped the elite Montanita group of 21 lifeguards trained and certified by PE Director Rodney Williamson.


Photo:  Reception by Salinas Mayor Paul Borbon with Gabriela Munoz Ocana, EC lifeguards and USA lifeguards from Jacksonville, FL - Lifeguards without Borders.






Date: Sunday March 20, 3:50 pm


Manta, the tuna capital of South America, was led by LA County Lifeguard veteran Bill White.  He was instrumental in working with the SNR and Recate Acuatico to secure our mission’s goals along with PE Director Gabriela Munoz Ocana.  Bill worked with Fundacion Salvares, the new national lifeguard association and SRN to volunteer at Murcielago and Santa Marianita.  Fundacion Salvares is the new organizational counterpart to Long Beach-Manta Sister Cities.  The hospitality was exceptional by our host city and we received continued support by Mayor Jaime Estrada.

manta-lifeguard-headquartersManta LifeguardsBill White was joined by Pismo Beach lifeguards, Megan Grose and Rob McCain, Hilton Head, South Carolina Lifeguards, Steven House and from San Diego Lifeguards, Chris Olivas.   


Manta Lifeguards representing Fundacion Salvares in photo.













Date: Sunday March 20, 3:17 pm

bus-ride-to-trainingmayorOur newest “Green City” was led by PE Director Rodney Williamson and the team was treated as honored guests by the Mayor and Ministry of Tourism. The hospitality was exceptional and the volunteers were treated to dinners, parades and television appearances. LA County veteran Bruce Moncrief joined 6 Newport Beach Lifeguards, Greg Nadal, Bret Winners, Greg Meyer, Paul Collier, Mike Newmaster and Justin Skaggs to train 16 lifeguards from Esmeraldas and Atacames. Monica Williamson also helped the team.

Photos: Bus ride to Mompiche for pre-Carnival training. USA volunteers with Esmeraldas Mayor Ernesto Estupinan





Date: Sunday March 20, 1:00 pm

We had a fantastic mission!  Over 600,000 tourists went to the beach during Carnival.  Project Ecuador’s largest volunteer team of 45 American ocean lifeguards worked along side 150 Ecuadorian lifeguards and did an exceptional job.  The result was no drownings during the 4 day holiday on the 15 supported beaches in 4 Provinces.  EC and USA lifeguards made over 252 rescues and over 2,000 preventions.


Ecuador has exhibited strong support of our water safety goals and all regions report gracious hospitality by our host cities.  Multiple government agencies worked together to provided support to the Ecuadorian lifeguards including rescue boat operations, beach vehicles and victim transport services.  Ecuador has sustained lifeguard operations.


More reports to follow on each region.playas-salvavidas





Date: Saturday March 5, 9:58 am

Carnival 2011 begins today through Tuesday as hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians migrate to the beaches to celebrate the coming of lent!  This year, a record 45 Project Ecuador (PE) volunteers are working alongside 150 Ecuadorian lifeguards to protect the non-swimming population from an untimely death by drowning.   This year also marks the first year PE has supported all 4 coastal provinces; Esmeraldas (new), Manabi, Santa Elena and Guayas.  This year, our mission was almost cancelled due to an uninformed government official.

Since Carnival last year, our positive momentum with the Ministry of Tourism ended as they transferred the oversight of the nation’s lifeguards to the Secretaria Nacional de Gestion de Riesgos (SNR) .  The SNR is the authority over the Fire Department, Civil Defense and Natural Disasters.  PE Director Gabriela Munoz Ocana met with SNR officials in Quito to present our goals and objectives to re-establish our national momentum, but somehow the message was misinterpreted.

On 3/2, one SNR representative threatened our volunteers with deportation and possible arrest if they worked on the beaches.  After several phone calls and letters to the SNR in Quito and Mayors in all regions, a meeting was held and the outcome was the SNR’s official letter authorizing PE volunteers to help the country of Ecuador. 

This incident caused a 1 day delay in pre-Carnival training, however all volunteers are safe and working the key beaches amongst the throngs of tourists.