Volusia Beach Patrol preps for spring break

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —

Volusia County Beach Patrol Officers call it the calm before the storm. They're patrolling quiet beaches in the county, getting adapted to new equipment as they wait for the spring break crowds to show up.

"We'll be in our season, and we're all geared up and ready to go," said Capt. Tammy Marris of Volusia County Beach Patrol.

The county is in the process of hiring more than 100 lifeguards to make a total of 200 for spring break. This season, officials say they'll have more of them working during busy weekends in an effort to prevent drownings.

Last year, four people drowned along Volusia's beaches.

Many of the drownings are caused by dangerous surf and rip currents.

That's a risk Bill Joyce said he is not willing to take.

"I've been slammed down to the bottom boogie-boarding a couple of times. I've kind of given up on that," said Joyce.

In addition to more lifeguards, there will be more smaller vehicles, like Jeeps and utility vehicles.

County officials said the design of those vehicles those gives officers a better view around them and makes the beach safer for sunbathers.

"We changed [the vehicles'] color so they're red. They're more visible. People know there's a lifeguard coming down the beach," said Marris.

The new vehicles, like the old ones, will have cameras that show lifeguards their blind spots. Each is equipped with new medical supplies and tools designed to save lives in any situation. Saturday, the county will be holding lifeguard tryouts from 1 to 4 p.m.