New Laguna Beach marine safety vessel “Wave Watch” officially christened into service

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Friday, May 24, the Laguna Beach community gathered at Marina Park in Newport Beach to celebrate the christening of the new marine safety vessel, “Wave Watch.” This 33-foot Crystaliner vessel, designed to enhance Laguna Beach Marine Safety emergency response capabilities along the city’s 7.5 miles of beach, was officially dedicated in a ceremony that drew local officials, community members and representatives from state offices.

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“Wave Watch” docked at Marina Park in Newport Beach

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Crew of “Wave Watch”

Crafted by Crystaliner, Wave Watch is engineered to endure diverse ocean conditions, ensuring efficient and effective rescue operations. The vessel is equipped with advanced communication systems, including a Lifeguard 800-megahertz radio and a Ship-to-Ship V.H.F. radio, allowing for seamless coordination during emergencies. Additionally, Wave Watch provides a stable platform for immediate emergency medical care and includes ample storage for life-saving equipment.

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(L-R) Councilmember Bob Whalen, Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi, Mayor Sue Kempf, Councilmember Mark Orgill and Acting Marine Safety Chief Kai Bond

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Lifeguards, current and former

The acquisition of Wave Watch was made possible through the transfer of surplus property from California State Parks Lifeguards, with operational and conversion funding generously donated by Laguna Beach residents Mark Porterfield and Steve Chadima. This new addition to the Marine Safety fleet will be crewed by a boat operator and a lifeguard, trained to respond to rescues, perform medical aids and serve as deckhands.

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Acting Marine Safety Chief Kai Bond expressing his gratitude

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Boat has beautiful lines

Acting Marine Safety Chief Kai Bond opened Friday’s christening ceremony, expressing gratitude for the vessel’s impact on local emergency response. “Wave Watch enhances our emergency response infrastructure, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our on-water operations,” Bond said. “This vessel represents a significant upgrade in our capabilities, and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have on our community’s safety.”

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(L-R) Front row: Mayor Sue Kempf, Councilmember Bob Whalen; (L-R) Back row: Councilmember Mark Orgill and Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi

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Mayor Sue Kempf addressing attendees

Mayor Sue Kempf highlighted the vessel’s significance in reinstating Laguna Beach’s Rescue Vessel Program, dormant since the 1990s. “Wave Watch bridges a critical seven-and-a-half-mile gap in our offshore response capabilities, ensuring we can provide more efficient and effective emergency operations on the water,” Kempf said. She added, “This vessel is a testament to our commitment to the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors. We are incredibly fortunate to have such strong community support that makes advancements like this possible.”

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Christened by Mayor Kempf

Special guests, including Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi, Councilmembers Mark Orgill and Bob Whalen, and Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung, were recognized for their support of the project. Representatives from Congresswoman Katie Porter’s Office and Assemblywoman Diane Dixon’s Office were also in attendance, presenting certificates to commemorate the occasion. The ceremony concluded with Mayor Kempf ceremoniously breaking a bottle of Champagne on the bow of Wave Watch, officially christening the vessel as a new beacon of safety for the community.

Wave Watch will begin patrolling the beaches at the start of summer, with the Marine Safety Team ready to deploy its state-of-the-art features in ensuring the safety of beachgoers and the community at large. “Our team has been training diligently, and we are prepared to use Wave Watch to its full potential to keep our waters safe,” Bond remarked.

For more information, contact Acting Marine Safety Chief Kai Bond at kbond@lagunabeachcity.net, or 949.464.6663.


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