National Recognition for Destin’s Personal Rescue Watercraft Program


The Destin Fire Control District (DFCD) has been awarded the Personal Rescue Watercraft Agency Certification by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), America’s nonprofit professional association of beach lifeguards and open water rescuers. This certification is for agencies that can demonstrate that their personal rescue watercraft programs operate in accordance with the USLA guidelines for Using Personal Watercraft as a Rescue Tool.

The USLA works to reduce the incidence of death and injury in the aquatic environment through public education, national lifeguard standards, training programs, promotion of high levels of lifeguard readiness, and other means.

For this agency certification, DFCD submitted its application to the USLA National Board Certification Committee Chair for review and was then selected for national accreditation for its Personal Rescue Watercraft Program.

The application was selected due to DFCD’s strenuous standards, as the program not only complies with current USLA guidelines, but exceeds them.

Not only can the employees at DFCD be certified in the use of Personal Rescue Watercraft, but DFCD can also develop and certify new instructors for a fully sustainable program for years to come.

DFCD was the first agency in the area to use Personal Watercraft for rescue and, currently, is the only nationally accredited program in the area.

Retired Encinitas Lifeguard Captain Larry Giles, who in 2006 helped the District get started in its PWC program in 2006. Chief Joe D’Agostino and Captain Felix Romero of the Destin Fire Control District have been training employees on the ski’s and the arduous tasks of attaining this certification.