Bay Watch

The USC Sea Grant Program and L.A. county lifeguards launch a new Web site offering updated information on Southern California's sun, surf and weather.
A new Web site has been launched by the lifeguard division of the Los Angeles county fire department, in partnership with the USC Sea Grant Program and the county’s department of beaches and harbors.

By going to the Web site at: the public can view images of the beach, get current weather and surf conditions and search a database of facilities and amenities. The information is updated every 30 minutes.

Part of a technology initiative known as the Coastal Monitoring Network, the program is funded by a federal grant with applications in public safety, public education and environmental studies.

The public will be able to look for a beach based on criteria such as showers, parking or volleyball courts, then see regularly updated information about that beach, such as surf, current conditions and advisories, said chief lifeguard Mike Frazer.

When completed, the network will consist of 27 Web-cameras, three sets of meteorological instruments and five water thermometers. Four cameras currently are installed, with others being added this year.

The network will help lifeguards make staffing decisions, track rescue activity, create public education materials and collect environmental data for the scientific community.

The network also will help USC Sea Grant scientists, who have partnered with UCLA to improve marine science education in grades K-12 in the Los Angeles area.

“Beach images will help us develop classroom and Internet-based curricula for students and families living in Los Angeles county far from the coast,” said Phyllis Grifman, associate director of the USC Sea Grant Program and chairperson of the program’s environmental advisory committee.

Contact USC Sea Grant at (213) 740-1961.