Bay Watch may not have been as fictional as you thought because Los Angeles lifeguards seem to be able to earn a lot of money. The highest-earning lifeguard in Los Angeles in 2019 was Fernando Boiteux, who took home a reported $391,971 that year alone. However, there are at least eighty-two lifeguards who earn upwards of $200,000 per year to keep the beaches of Los Angeles safe and to protect people from drowning.

Not only did Boiteux earn a lot of money for being a lifeguard in Los Angeles County, his salary nearly matched the chief of the entire Los Angeles Police Department, who earns a reported $462,600 in total compensation for the 2019 reporting year.

As the acting chief lifeguard, Boiteux (above) made a pretty penny. His base salary was reported to be $205,619, while he received about $125,900 in benefits and an additional $60,452 in perks. Because Boiteux is responsible for being a lifeguard for people swimming in the Pacific Ocean, he has a lot of responsibility. Nevertheless, Los Angeles taxpayers questioned how a lifeguard received so much money.

But doesn’t someone who protects swimmers deserve a good salary? Some people felt that the job was worthy of being high-paying since people are literally in Boiteux’s hands while putting themselves out in the water.

Captain Daniel Douglas (above and below) was the second highest-earning lifeguard. He raked in a total of $368,668 in compensation, including more than $130,000 in overtime pay. When it came to Douglas’s salary, he received $140,706 in base pay as well as $21,760 in “other pay” along with an additional $74,709 in benefits. The rest of his salary was earned through overtime.

The third, fourth, and fifth highest-paid lifeguards in Los Angeles County were the following:

Jeffrey Horn, lifeguard captain, earned a total of $254,382 in 2019. His salary was broken down in the following way: Salary $135,587, overtime pay $93,809, and “other pay” $24,986.

Lifeguard captain, Patrick O’Neill, was the fourth highest-paid lifeguard. His total pay in 2019 was $249,556. His base salary was $136,692, and he earned overtime pay of $95,302 as well as “other pay” totaling $14,562.

Timothy Arnold, lifeguard section chief, was the fifth highest-paid lifeguard in Los Angeles County. His total pay from 2019 was $204,182. His base salary was $177,867, and he also earned “other pay” to the tune of $26,315.

These employees have largely given decades of service to Los Angeles County. Because lifeguards in the area are considered to be public-safety employees, they serve under the fire department just like fire captains and chiefs. They’ve got a lot of responsibility because the Pacific Ocean is so massive.

The chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Ralph M. Terrazas, earned $490,613 in total compensation in 2018. This year was the most recent available for data, according to Transparent California.

Los Angeles taxpayers now want to know why so much of their money is going to keep the waters safe. But some residents believe that tax money that goes toward public-safety services is money well spent because it keeps the county safer for all.

What do you think about these salaries for Los Angeles’s hard-working lifeguards? Are these leaders earning too much money?

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