The Pacific Coast Water Rescue Foundation (PCWRF) has spent the last seven years volunteering 6,400 hours at more than 100 events on the Discovery Bay Delta.
The nonprofit originally began to fill the void when budget cuts forced local agencies to shelve water-safety programs. Discovery Bay resident John Garza said he was asked what could be done to make events held on the water safe. As a firefighter and fireboat captain, Garza had the knowledge. He just needed a team.
“I started getting all these calls from these event coordinators, and I said we had to do something,” Garza recalled. “I called everyone I knew around here who had a water background or fire rescue background or owned a boat, and that was how we started.”
The Pacific Coast Water Rescue Foundation has been an integral part of Discovery Bay and its many events since 2012. Working in unison with the Discovery Bay Community Foundation (DBCF), they have kept residents safe and made many fun events possible.
“Our partnership started in 2014,” said DBCF president Jim Mattison. “We have jointly done many events and training sessions together and the partnership will continue as Pacific Coast Water embarks on the new adventure.”
With the recovery of the economy, Garza feels it is time for a new chapter for the foundation.
“We’re passing the torch off, as far as being able to do all the standbys,” Garza said. “Now that we are all fully licensed and trained, we are no longer a nonprofit team. We have six officially licensed captains and six rescue swimmers. So that allows us to charge for our services as an official company.”
Garza said that he is looking forward to the next chapter, though he added that he and his team will always be there for Discovery Bay, saying the newly dubbed Pacific Coast Water Rescue Captain Services will continue helping local nonprofits cover water events when there are no water safety teams available.
As part of his organization’s metamorphosis, Garza is hosting a breakfast at the Discovery Bay Yacht Club to thank all his volunteers. With their help, PCWRF has taught boating safety and first aid classes, manned standbys, started rescue boat operations for three other agencies and had their own members certified as captains and rescue swimmers.
Daniel Gengler is a local resident and PCWRF team member. He supports Garza’s plan to move from nonprofit to for-profit business, though he admits he will miss his time volunteering on the Delta.
“I think it just feels nice that we can finally move on,” Gengler said. “(Other agencies) have essentially filled the hole that we once attempted to fill for the community, so now we can take our services and use them in a more productive way for Discovery Bay.”
Pacific Coast Water Rescue Captain Services will be available to staff events on the water starting at a rate of $250 per hour, per boat. Each boat has a crew of three members, including a United States Coast Guard-rated captain and rescue swimmer. For more information, visit www.pcwrcaptainservices.com or call 925-337-2294.