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Hahn Unveils Beach Mat, Discusses Junior Lifeguards Program

Feb 17, 2021 09:37PM ● By Dig Mb Staff

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors Director Gary Jones, and Manhattan Beach Councilmember Hildy Stern. Photo via office of Janice Hahn.

Local and county officials have unveiled a special beach mat at 42nd St. in Manhattan Beach aimed at improving beach access for individuals with mobility issues.

The mat was installed on Wednesday, with Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Manhattan Beach City Councilwoman Hildy Stern, and LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors Director Gary Jones on hand to celebrate the new addition to the El Porto beach area.

Following the installation of the beach mat, Hahn went on to discuss the Junior Lifeguards program with local lifeguards. Hahn has been a leader in the effort to bring back the program, which was canceled last summer due to the pandemic.

"Mobi-Mat" Designed to Aid Beach Mobility

The new "Mobi-Mat" is made of fine nylon mesh and is designed to provide a more stable surface to people who may need assistance crossing the sand, whether they use a wheelchair or a walker or have other mobility issues.

The mat extends 60 feet from the circular end of the existing “Pathway to the Sea” at 42nd St. and ends in a “T” shape closer to the water’s edge.

“Our beaches belong to everyone, and we are working to make them accessible to everyone - including people with mobility challenges,” said Hahn in a statement. “The Mobi-Mat we are installing at Manhattan Beach is designed to make it easier for people with wheelchairs or parents with strollers to get across the sand and enjoy the beach.”

Semi-permanent mats are part of the county’s efforts to ensure that L.A. County’s iconic beaches remain accessible to all. The Manhattan Beach mat is the first one installed in 2021, but is the sixth overall, including a seasonal mat at Zuma Beach. Beach wheelchairs remain available along the coast.

“We are thrilled that the county will be installing the mobility mats so that everyone has adequate access to enjoy the beach and ocean in Manhattan Beach,” said Stern in a statement. “We are especially grateful to Supervisor Hahn for making this happen and for assuring that all our residents and visitors to Manhattan Beach are able to enjoy our local treasure.”

Junior Lifeguards Program Discussed

While in Manhattan Beach, Hahn stopped by the lifeguard headquarters at 26th St. in Manhattan Beach and discussed the L.A. County Junior Lifeguards program.

The Junior Lifeguards program - which has trained generations of ocean lovers in Manhattan Beach - was canceled last summer due to the pandemic. But many families are clamoring for its safe return, and Hahn has promised to find a way to make it happen.

Earlier this month, Hahn authored a motion to direct the L.A. County Fire Department, in consultation with the Department of Public Health and the Office of Emergency Management, to report back in 30 days on how to safely resume the LA County Junior Lifeguard program this summer.

On Wednesday, following her chat with the lifeguards in Manhattan Beach, she reported: "It is so cool how many of our hardworking lifeguards were actually in the Junior Lifeguard program themselves as kids. This program is so important and I think we can get it back up and running safely. I am hopeful that we will have good news for families soon."

The Junior Lifeguard program, offered over two sessions in the summertime, is designed to instruct L.A. County youth (ages 9 through 17) in beach and ocean skills. It provides instruction in water safety, swimming, body surfing, surfing, physical conditioning, competition skills, first aid, lifesaving, rescue techniques, CPR and the use of professional lifesaving equipment.

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