Guarding The Beach: Fernandina Beach, Florida’s City Lifeguards

AT THE SEASIDE: Warm weather, sunshine, barefoot at the beach. The summer season has arrived at beautiful Atlantic coast beaches of Fernandina in northeast Florida.

The Fernandina Beach Fire-Rescue Department has announced the start to the summer lifeguard season on the beautiful Atlantic Coast beaches of Fernandina Beach in northeast Florida.  The Ocean Rescue Division of the Fernandina Beach Fire-Rescue Dept. employs approximately 25 seasonal Ocean Rescue lifeguards each year to provide protection to beach visitors.

The city of Fernandina Beach staffs its beaches on weekends (only) in May until the Memorial Day holiday weekend. After Memorial Day, Fernandina’s beaches are guarded 7 days a week during the summer season through Labor Day.


Fernandina’s lifeguards are stationed at the red stands from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays.


Main Beach Park, Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida
Main Beach Park, Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

MAIN BEACH PARK: Ocean Rescue maintains three lifeguard stands at Main Beach Park (park amenities include large parking area, playground, volley ball court, restrooms, outdoor showers, several gazebos, boardwalk, and picnic tables. ) There’s a Putt Putt mini-golf course oceanfront and Sandy Bottoms bar/restaurant on the beach. Main Beach is located at the opposite side of the island from historic Centre Street (which turns into Atlantic Avenue). Cross the island from Fernandina’s charming historic district at the harbor front on the river (about 2 miles, sidewalks all the way) to the Atlantic Ocean at Main Beach Park.

SEASIDE PARK: Ocean Rescue maintains two lifeguard stands at Seaside Park (Sadler Rd. roundabout at the South Fletcher Ave. intersection, next to Sliders Seaside Grill). Parking lot, wooden dune walkover with covered pavilions (but no public restrooms.) This beach access location is an easy walk to Dairy Queen and a few of Amelia Island’s hotels on Sadler Rd: Hampton Inn, the Amelia Hotel at the Beach (just across the street from the ocean), Days Inn, and Amelia’s newest hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott.

Seaside Park, Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida
Seaside Park, Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

NORTH BEACH PARK: Ocean Rescue maintains one lifeguard stand at North Beach Park (located on North Fletcher Avenue.) There’s small parking lot, wooden dune walkover with two covered pavilions, but no restrooms at this public beach access.


According to the city, during the summer of 2009 there were approximately 191,000 beach goers attending Fernandina’s city beaches. During that time Ocean Rescue lifeguards performed 218 rescues and attended to 112 medical aids. Visitors should look at the posted signs at beach park entrances for information about rip currents and beach flag color warnings. Please respect the beaches, pick up trash, and dogs are required to be leashed at all times.


Marked Sea Turtle Nest Amelia Island, Florida
Marked Sea Turtle Nest Amelia Island, Florida

Beach visitors need to be aware of the annual sea turtle nesting season May 1 through October 31 on Amelia Island, Florida. The turtle nests are clearly marked with wooden stakes and yellow ribbon. Please be respectful of the nests and leave them undisturbed.

Here on Amelia Island, in an attempt to help protect sea turtle hatchlings, there is an ordinance restricting artificial lighting on the beachfront from dusk until dawn from May through October during sea turtle nesting season.  If you’re visiting a local oceanfront hotel (or renting a beach cottage or condo), try to keep lighting in rooms facing the beach at night minimal during the turtle season. Keep the curtains or shades drawn on windows in the evening hours and please turn off outside porch and balcony lights that can disorient the turtle hatchings to go inland rather than toward the ocean.

If you happen to come across a hatchling or an injured or dead sea turtle, please call the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch at 904-261-2697, or the Florida Marine Patrol at 800-DIAL-FMP.  For more information about the local organization, Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch, visit their web site at :

To learn more about Fernandina’s Ocean Rescue, visit they city of Fernandina Beach’s website,

Note: Other large beach park areas on Amelia Island are located toward the south end of Amelia Island, outside of the city limits, and are under the jurisdiction of Nassau County, Florida, not the city of Fernandina. Nassau County, Florida Beach Parks (the largest are Peter’s Point and Burney Park at American Beach) also have lifeguards during the summer season. Peter’s Point, (located on South Fletcher Avenue not far from the Ritz-Carlton), has the largest parking lot with restrooms, outdoor showers, covered picnic tables, and wooden dune walkovers.