This article was written by Cap Peterson for Cahoots Quarterly, August Edition, “The official Newspaper of… Hollywood Beach, Florida and Beyond.”


Several years ago, after exiting from my ocean swim with painful bites from the venomous Portuguese Man-O-War, a Hollywood Beach Lifeguard, Joe Schwimmer, helped me by applying some magic liquid he had to treat the stinging welts. After that day, we became very close friends. Sadly, my pal, has announced his retirement; it will be the end of an era when the famed and legendary Hollywood Beach lifeguard puts on his red trunks and brass whistle for the last time. “It’s been a great run, but it’s time to move on,” he said. “I am officially announcing tomorrow will be my last day.”

Schwimmer, who just turned 45, is a 21-year veteran guard and holds many Hollywood Beach Lifeguard records that will probably never be broken. He has singlehandedly accounted for 1,239 swimmer rescues and returned 211 distressed loggerhead turtles to the sea, although last year he did keep six for a pot of soup. He has intercepted 34 drug boats, deported 438 illegal Cuban rafters trying to reach shore, and found 623 sets of keys without using a metal detector. He also builds a mean sandcastle.

Last week Schwimmer and I had a couple of beers at a local pub and he revealed a little of his personal life. “My dad was a Western movie fan and even kept a herd of buffaloes in our backyard in Cape May, New Jersey. In fact, when I left home the only thing he told me was…”son…Bison.”

Schwimmer doesn’t want a big deal made about his retirement, ‘A life- size statue of me somewhere on the beach would be nice, or they can name a city park after me, something like that, but nothing too fancy,’ he said. ‘Meanwhile, people are always welcome to buy me a beer before I become a statue.’

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