Captain Derek Peters—Guardian of the Shoreline

Oct 26, 2023, 08:42 AM by Nuvision 

Nuvision Heroes October First Responder: Derek Peters

Captain Derek Peters is not the stereotypical lifeguard that you might have seen on TV shows like "Baywatch." Born into an "ocean-centric" family, he developed a passion for the ocean from an early age. He was a competitive surfer throughout high school and continued after graduation. His upbringing instilled in him the values of community, mentorship, and responsibility towards the ocean and its beachgoers.

After high school, Derek made a choice that would shape his life. Instead of taking up typical jobs like working in a restaurant, he pursued a career in marine safety. His role as a Marine Safety Officer is multifaceted, working year-round with the city. His job resembles a blend of fire suppression and law enforcement, making him more than just a lifeguard on a tower. From 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM, when the beach is open, Derek and his team are focused on preventing emergencies both on the beach and in the water.

The objective of his work is mainly proactive—preventing 911 calls on the beach and in the water. This involves patrolling the beach, enforcing municipal codes, and most importantly, initiating preventative actions in the water. When they spot a rip current or a potential victim, they act early to advise and educate the public on how to avoid or escape such hazards. If someone is already in a dangerous situation, they initiate the rescue operations, proving their role goes far beyond just sitting in a lifeguard tower.

Physical and mental fitness are crucial in Derek's line of work. Marine safety officers have to stay focused and alert for long hours. The mental fatigue of constant surveillance and vigilance is a challenge many people initially struggle with. But for Derek, the fulfillment of serving his community and promoting safety more than compensates for the hardships.

Giving Back to the Community

Losing family members at a young age, Derek found support in his community that helped him and his family through tough times. This support network also opened doors for him, giving him opportunities like competitive surfing and travel. Thus, giving back to his community isn't just a job; it's a passion. He sees his role as an opportunity for mentorship and aims to "pay it forward" by helping others join the marine safety force and promote a career that's vital for public safety.

Derek's focus doesn't stop at rescue and prevention. He's keenly involved in what he calls "Community Risk Reduction," which entails public education about ocean safety. Whether it's about understanding rip currents or locating lost children, educating the public is an integral part of his work, aimed at reducing risks before they can escalate into emergencies.

Captain Derek Peters goes beyond the call of duty, dedicating himself to the safety and education of his community. He embodies the spirit of first responders, serving as a guardian at the front lines where the ocean meets the sand.