We need your help to restore full staffing
May 9th, 2016 by Eddie

Esteemed Donors, Because of your generous support over the last 14 years countless lives have been spared at Cocles Beach since in 2002 five people drowned in just eight days!

The C12491908_146213522418695_4251373457751638727_oocles Lifeguard Program is once again in crisis closing out April with a deficit of ₡59,619.00. The last two weeks we have once again had to send one of our trusted, faithful lifeguards home without pay leaving everyone’s safety in the noble hands of but one lifeguard!

Our lifeguards are extremely responsible and specifically trained. A few weeks back we received a donation of a defibrillator from the USA with training on how to use it. The lifeguards can now not only rescue someone and give first aid, but keep that person alive awaiting the ambulance!

Please help us with a special donation if you’re not a monthly supporter and if you’re a business, join the other 60 who have kept this project alive. Please if you can donate some time to help me look for other financing contact me. Can anyone help me with a high level contact in Coca Cola or the Cerveceria? We need some money right now to make sure that no one drowns as we’ve done for 14 years.

Eddie Ryan

Feliz Año Nuevo! Happy New Year!
Jan 2nd, 2016 by Salvavidas Cocles

Para todos muchas bendiciones, paz y amor.
Wishing everyone good blessings, peace and love.
Pura vida from the Cocles Lifeguards.12487102_139387213101326_4063361879812847259_o

Heartfelt Thanks! Gracias de Corazon!
Dec 28th, 2015 by Eddie

To Banana Azul, Gecko Trail and Chester Ohrt for their special donations to address the déficit and Geckoes Lodge for rejoining our team of donors. Koki Beach paid all of 2016 up front as a gesture of support and Gecko Trail has doubled its monthly donation!

Playa Cocles, photo courtesy Different Lines.

Playa Cocles, photo courtesy Different Lines.

The lifeguards have given us a little more time to find a way to pay their health insurance (Caja) and at least holiday pay. As we stand today this will be difficult to do but with some new donors joining (or old ones rejoining) and if a few people come forward to work on some new financing sources, will be able to compensate the lifeguards in a more dignified manner.

Had the lifeguards not reported for work on December 21 surely people would have drowned in the high seas that followed.

A Banana Azul, Gecko Trail y a Chester Ohrt por sus donaciones especiales para hacer frente al déficit del programa. A Geckoes Lodge por reincorporarse a nuestro equipo de donadores. A Koki Beach por pagar todo el 2016 por adelantado como un gesto de apoyo y a Gecko Trail por duplicar sus donaciones mensuales!

Los salvavidas nos han dado un poco más de tiempo para encontrar la manera de pagar su seguro médico (CCSS) y al menos los feriados. A como estamos hoy día esto va a ser difícil de hacer; pero con algunos nuevos donantes uniéndose (o los viejos reincorporándose) y si algunas personas se unen al esfuerzo trabajando en nueva fuente de financiamiento, seremos capaces de recompensar de una manera más digna a nuestros salvavidas.

Si los salvavidas no se hubieran presentado a trabajar en Dic.21 seguramente alguien se hubiese ahogado con el mar tan alto.

Eddie Ryan

¡Peligro – Alerta! Danger Alert!
Dec 15th, 2015 by Eddie

English below

salvavidas-logoDespués de 13 años de rescate y servicio de prevención, después de recaudar ₡97,000,000 colones ,después de salvar innumerables vidas  en respuesta a 5 ahogados en 8 días, 14 años atrás. Parece que el Programa de Salvavidas de Playa Cocles está por colapsar!

Nuestros leales, responsables y certificados salvavidas que han trabajado por los últimos 4 años por el mismo salario de ₡11,000 diarios sin ningún beneficio!

Si no  le podemos garantizar al menos servicio de seguro social, nos comunican que el día 20 de Diciembre será su ultimo día!

El programa cerro Noviembre de 2015 con un déficit de ₡30,000. Estoy informándome sobre el costo con la CAJA, pero al menos que mas negocios se unan al esfuerzo, al menos que la Asociación de Desarrollo de Puerto Viejo y la Municipalidad responda a la petición enviada por escrito el mes pasado, pidiendo su valiosa colaboración, al menos que haya alguna idea fresca para generar más ingresos, las personas pronto empezaran a morir!

After 13 years of rescue and prevention service, after raising 97.000.000 colones, after saving countless lives in response to drownings in 8 days 14 years ago, it appears that the Cocles Lifeguard Program is about to collapse!

Our loyal, responsible, certified lifeguards have worked for the last 4 years at the same ₵11.000 daily salary with no benefits. If they cannot at least be guaranteed health care coverage they have given notice that Sunday December 20 will be their last day.

The program finished November 2015 with a ₵30.000 deficit. I am looking into the CAJA costs but unless more businesses join the effort, unless the Asociacion de Desarrollo de Puerto Viejo and the Municipalidad de Talamanca respond to the written petition for support given to them last month, unless there is a fresh idea to generate income, people will soon begin to die!

Down to 1 Lifeguard on duty at Cocles due to funding shortfall. Can you help?
Oct 21st, 2015 by Eddie

As of Monday October 19 2015 there will be only one life guard on duty at Playa Cocles. We closed September with a ₵78,000 deficit ($147) and we will have to temporarily cut costs (and services!) to balance the budget.

lifeguard-towerOur lifeguards are extremely responsible and highly qualified and sending one home without pay is undeserved and painful. For the moment the sea is calm but this can change overnight and the ocean knows no pity.

I prepared a petition for domestic government agencies and large suppliers of products to the area requesting their sponsorship to cover health insurance, or vacations and Aguinaldo or work risk insurance or holiday pay, none of which the lifeguards receive.

They have received the same ₵11 000 ($21) daily salary for 4 years and now one is being sent home.

Thanks to all our steady donors. We have raised almost ₵95 000 000 ($180 000) in these last 12 years and saved so many lives. I will reach out to those local businesses who do not participate in the next days.

Please take extra care if you are in the water while no lifeguard is on duty. And if you can help, please visit our donation page or contact Eddie Ryan at La Costa de Papito.

Rescue and Fundraising Thanks
Jun 22nd, 2015 by admin

Many thanks to mr Yaaka Yaaka and his wife and son for their generous $100 donation to the Cocles Lifeguard Program. Mr Yaaka Yaaka is an indigenous guide from Northern Ontario (featured  in the National Geographic Special “Survive the Tribe – Arctic Endurance”) grateful to the lifeguard for pulling his son from riptide current on June 21.

Also thanks to Andrew from Chile Rojo for organizing a benefit night at his restaurant featuring Professor Jim MacDougall on the keyboards raising  ₵134 000.

Lifeguards back on the beach tomorrow
May 14th, 2015 by Eddie

The coldhearted ocean has been benign and warm hearts have prevailed. Kean Millward, Ty Inwood, Carmen Gutierrez, Sharon Burns and Cindy Hong have generously stepped forward to donate what will be enough to get the lifeguards back on the beach tomorrow (Friday). Lousy weather and few people helped keep us safe these last two long days. I stopped my car today to go over and give some riptide advice to a lone group of adolescent tourists enjoying the ocean, close to shore, but perhaps unaware of the risk. Tomorrow the lifeguards will do this.

Thank you Doug Dosdall from Puerto Viejo Satellite for this donated website and your intermediary role with donations. Thanks to Colin Brownlee for setting up a donation page on Go Fund Me and to Kitty Ryan for helping to get info and photos uploaded.

Kean writes:

Back in February 2013 my brother in-law Marco and I came to Puerto Viejo for a week to look at properties. One day we were down on Cocles beach and saw the flags etc. We were just in up to our waists and jumping the large waves, we’d been in for a while when suddenly up we went and then down…to no bottom, we started to swim towards the beach but noticed I wasn’t making any headway, getting tired (and knowing there were lifeguards) I tread water and raised my arm. Out they came and had us ashore in no time. Wonderful to have these guys. A heartfelt thank you to all who keep this program running.

Lifeguards suspended due to defecit and rough seas
May 13th, 2015 by admin

As of today May 13, 2015 there are no lifeguards on Cocles Beach.

Rough seas at Cocles today

Rough seas at Cocles today

Although the program has collected over 90,000,000 colones over the last 12 years a deficit of 180,000 colones ($342) in this low season month of May has created a crisis. Normally to reduce the deficit only one lifeguard would remain working but the high seas and strong currents at this moment make it too dangerous for one lifeguard to assume the risk. There will immediately be a drive to collect donations but until some money comes in or the sea conditions relax, we are at the mercy of the merciless sea.

Please help out if you can. Business owners or individuals can contact Eddie or Kitty at La Costa de Papito to pledge or renew their support or view the donation page for details on how to transfer funds. If you’d like to make a one time donation by credit card you can do it here.

Happy Ending for Three California Women
Apr 7th, 2015 by admin

This letter came to us from someone who directly benefited from the lifeguards!

To all who support the Playa Cocles Lifeguard Program,

Thank you so much!  Thanks to your generosity my friends and I are here today.  We visited in March 2015 and love Puerto Viejo and Playa Cocles.  We heard of the rip tides, but having swam in the water off our own coast of California and in other coasts (Caribbean and Hawaii) we didn’t truly understand the risk until it was too late.  Until we were struggling to keep our heads above the water and not getting any closer to the shore.  One second we were touching the sand (I could even dig my feet in) and the next second the ground was nowhere below us and we couldn’t catch a wave back into shore like we would usually do.  Then struggling to keep our heads above water and trying to find some way to reach someone on shore for help… suddenly Abraham was there telling us to grab on to the floatation device and to calm down.  He managed to get three of us back to shore safely and we aren’t small women.  We later found out that Playa Cocles is the only beach that has lifeguards thanks to donations from local businesses and donors.  Thank you so much and know that this service is greatly needed and should continue.


And thank you for the donation as well.  That will help keep the program going in the future!

Story of a rescue
Feb 27th, 2015 by admin

This story came to use via a visitor Jon to the who has a very personal reason to be grateful for the Cocles Lifeguard program:

To All the supporters of the Playa Cocles Lifeguard Program:

A friend and I were rescued by the lifeguards on Playa Cocles on January 17, 2015. We are from the United States and were staying in Cahuita but came to Puerto Viejo that day to watch the surfing competition at Cocles. At some point in the early afternoon we decided to take a swim. We waded in and swam around for a while until one of the lifeguards called us in. We were shocked to discover how far we had drifted offshore! I had never experienced a riptide before but soon realized that we were caught up in one as we futilely tried swimming towards the beach. It soon became apparent to us that despite our exhausting efforts we were losing ground. Meanwhile, the closest lifeguard was already swimming towards us. He realized we were in trouble before we did! He reached us and extended his floatation device to us. We latched-on and now accompanied by the second lifeguard we all paddled parallel to shore until we were beyond the pull of the riptide.

We were lucky. Very lucky! I later learned that Cocles is the only beach on the Caribbean coast that has lifeguards and that the program is supported by volunteers, local merchants and donors. To your support community, I say: “THANK YOU!” Your efforts have certainly made all the difference to us!

Jon has made a generous donation to the lifeguard program and his story really shows the professionalism and the value of the program. We really appreciate it Jon and glad it turned out well for you and your friend!

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