Tag Archives: Compo Beach lifeguards

Photo Challenge #319

Who’s thinking of summer?

Dan Vener, Fred Cantor, Andrew Colabella and Carol Brezovec.

They knew that last week’s Photo Challenge — which showed some wooden picket fencing, and the number “1” — was part of the lifeguard chair storage area in the Compo Beach Soundview parking lot. (Click here to see.) 

Only 113 days until the traditional Memorial Day opening, when all 5 guard chairs will be on the sand, manned (and womanned) for action.

This week’s Photo Challenge is easy. It’s obviously a plaque honoring Sigrid Schultz, a true (if previously overlooked) local hero.

The challenge is not just to say where in Westport it’s located. We want the exact location — to the inch (or at least yard).

If you know, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Roundup: Jazz, Food, Black History, More

Outdoor entertainment returned to MoCA Westport last night. A socially distanced crowd enjoyed Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Alexa Tarantino Quartet.

More concerts will be announced soon.

Outdoors at MoCA.

With food insecurity still a serious issue, the Westport Woman’s Club Food Closet is grateful for a nice donation from Westport National Bank.

Any organizations or family can donate food to neighbors in need. Bring non-perishable donations to the WWC 44 Imperial Avenue) from 9 a.m. to onoon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If the clubhouse is locked, call 203-227-4240.

Monetary donations are also welcome. Click here, or send a check made out to Westport Woman’s Club to WWC, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT  06880.

At the Westport Woman’s Club food pantry (from left); Wendy McKeon, WWC food closet co-chair; Robin Clark, WWC member and Westport National Bank vice president; Selma Blue, WNB head teller.

The “hidden history of Black Westport” will be visible to Westporters next Saturday (September 12, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.)

As a follow-up to the Westport Museum of History & Culture’s “Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport” exhibit, guides will lead tour groups (maximum of 10 people) throughout downtown.

They’ll describe local history, from enslaved people to soldiers, sailors, activists, artists, and respected residents, through existing buildings and long destroyed sites.

Tickets are $10. Reservations are required; click here to register. Foe moew information, email programs@westporthistory.org.

Aarti Khosla needs help in providing chocolate hearts to every Westport and Weston educator, as a show of thanks for all they do. 10% of all proceeds benefit another educational institution: Mercy Learning Center.

Click here to purchase hearts ($8 each). You can also stop by Aarti’s store, Le Rouge Chocolates (190 Main Street).


The final (and 15th) #FridayFlowers are on display at the Compo Beach lifeguard station. The Westport Garden Club — sponsor of the summer-long floral project — is grateful to the guards, and everyone at Westport Parks & Rec — for keeping our beaches safe and fun.

Pictured below (from left): David Levy, Noah Ross, Mia Parkes, Ella Thompson and Avery Tucker.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

RTM representative and Westport Writers Workshop founder Jessica Bram undergoes brain surgery at Yale University Hospital this morning.

Doctors will drain excess hydration to reverse motor, cognitive and memory impairment resulting from a recent fall.

Jessica sends affection and high regard to the Westport community, past and current writing students, RTM colleagues, and Webb Road neighbors.

And finally … today is National Be Late for Something Day. I’ll have a song for you later. Maybe.

Pic Of The Day #1172

They’re back! Lifeguards returned yesterday to Compo Beach. This was the scene today. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Compo Lifeguards Add Competition To Training

For several reasons — college graduation, other job opportunities, etc. — this year’s Compo Beach lifeguard crew is younger than usual. Of the 3 dozen guards (about 60% from Westport), almost all are between 16 and 21 years old.

But it’s a hugely important job. Lives are at risk. Standards can’t be lowered.

Compo lifeguards do rescue training throughout the summer. Being young and outside, they like to keep fit.

This year, those 2 elements are one. Waterfront co-directors Heidi List Murphy and Danilo Sierra have designed a series of “rescue workouts.”

Heidi List Murphy and Danilo Sierra, in the guard shack.

And they’ve added the element of competition.

Every day at high tide — except, of course, when the beach is closed due to a sewage leak 🙁 — the guards form teams. They sprint along the sand, swim, and head out on boards to the buoys and back.

Every guard is timed. They’re allowed to choose their teams, so there’s pressure to have good scores.

At the end of every day, there’s a debriefing meeting. The rescue workout is always part of the discussion.

The workouts increase confidence and raise morale, Sierra says.

“This is a teaching beach,” Murphy notes. “Guards are constantly learning. They like the hands-on part of this, and the competition.”

JC Montoni, in the midst of a rescue workout.

Fortunately, the Compo guards have not had to rescue anyone — for real — this year.

Last year, there was one rescue. It came in the final 4 hours of the last day guards were on duty for the summer.

“It can happen any time,” Murphy notes. “We have to be ready.”

Thanks in part to the rescue workouts — and constant supervision and education — they will be.


Pic Of The Day #504

Another beach season ends. The Compo guards say thanks — and we thank them! (Photo/Heidi List Murphy)

Unsung Heroes #61

I’m not sure why summer lasts only 3 days, while winter drags on for 27 months, but once again one of our favorite seasons races to a close.

And once again we’ve been served wonderfully well by our Compo Beach, Longshore and Burying Hill lifeguards.

Despite their red outfits, high perches and occasional whistles, they tend to blend in with the sand and sea scenery.

Yet without them, we would not have the wonderful summer(s) we do.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Thankfully, their real emergencies are very few. But — in addition to training incessantly for them — our lifeguards also

  • Keep overzealous swimmers from straying into danger, and over-aggressive boats at bay
  • Handle routine scrapes, bruises and stings with care and kindness
  • Quickly summon the pros for more dangerous medical issues
  • Reunite lost kids with parents (and, during the fireworks, lost spouses with each other)
  • Answer tons of questions, from difficult to ridiculous (“yes, Joey’s is open now”)
  • Educate beach-goers about jellyfish and horseshoe crabs
  • Post thought-provoking Quotes of the Day
  • Pick up more garbage than you realize.

I’m sure I’ve missed many of other things our lifeguards do. Because — like the list above — they do them quietly, efficiently and (way too often) thanklessly.

Plus they’re out there, rain or shine.

So, to head guard Heidi List Murphy and her fantastic Parks & Recreation crew: thank you! You are always — but especially this week — our Unsung Heroes.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Pic Of The Day #452

The end of a Compo Beach lifeguard’s day (Photo/Doris Ghitelman)

Former Compo Guards Keep Saving Lives

Back in the day, a group of Compo lifeguards kept the beach safe.

Decades later, they’re still saving lives.

Spurred on by Dave Jones — a 1971 Staples High School graduate and longtime lifeguard who battled several cancers, built a community cancer center and started a foundation that gives away money in non-traditional ways — the former guards raised money for Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities.

Honoring the 21-month-old son of Stew Leonard Jr., who drowned in 1989, the organization promotes water safety and awareness.

but the former Compo lifeguards did more than raise a few bucks. On Sunday, they presented the charity with a check for $10,000.

Dave Jones (2nd from left) and Stew Leonard Jr. (5th from left) pose with former Compo Beach lifeguards, at the check presentation.

That’s inspiring. And they’ve inspired the current guards to do their part too.

On Sunday — next to the daily quotes posted in the lifeguard shack window, which everyone on the boardwalk stops to read — the 2017 crew posted Stewie the Duck’s water safety rules.


  • Swim with an adult
  • Always wear a life vest
  • Take swim lessons.

(To read Dave Jones’ remarkable back story, click here.)

Pic Of The Day #53

Compo Beach lifeguard chair (Photo/Penney DeMattio)

A Good Walk Spoiled

Betsy P. Kahn’s early morning Compo Beach stroll was marred by this sight:

Lifeguard chair - August 23, 2016 - Betsy P Kahn

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Every lifeguard chair up and down the shore was toppled, she says.

And this is not the first time.

No, the wind was not strong last night.

But the (we assume) teenagers out for some late-summer mischief were.