ENCINITAS — After 30 years with the city, the long watch of Encinitas Marine Safety Captain Larry Giles has officially come to an end.
In a ceremony on Tuesday in front of the Marine Safety Center at Moonlight Beach, a center that was envisioned by Giles himself, friends and colleagues came together to wish the longtime city servant a happy retirement.
“Just as this is the end of one phase in his life, it is the beginning of another,” Marine Safety Sergeant Robert Veria said to kick off the ceremony Tuesday morning. “Our gathering today also gives us the opportunity to wish him every success in the future as he looks forward to new challenges and rewards.”
Those in attendance for the ceremony were Mayor Catherine Blakespear along with Councilmembers Kellie Hinze and Joy Lyndes and other members of city staff. Blakespear awarded Giles with a certificate of recognition from the city after making her comments.
“Speaking personally and on behalf of the entire city, we will miss you,” Blakespear said. “You deserve the best in retirement. And I hope that in retiring you will know that you have had a profoundly positive impact on the city of Encinitas.”
During his own remarks, Giles put the thanks onto his family who has supported him throughout his time with the city of Encinitas.
“I had a lot of support and understanding. I left a lot of family events to come here and take care of business day and night and I appreciate all of that,” Giles said. “I look at my grandmother over here and my aunt and uncle and my dad and my mom and there is just a lot to fall back on and a lot of incidents where they were there to support me.”
During his remarks, a group of junior lifeguards joined the audience to hear the longtime leader of the lifeguards in the city say his goodbyes.
“I look over here to the future, our junior lifeguard program. And it’s great to see that. The succession plan is here and it is coming. We already have young people here learning our coastline and are potential future captains, sergeants and lieutenants so I am very proud of that,” Giles said.
Giles first started with the city of Encinitas as a senior seasonal ocean lifeguard on April 15, 1991, making $12.11 an hour before working his way to his leadership position.
Aside from overseeing the construction of the Marine Safety Center on Moonlight Beach, during his time with the city, Giles has seen over 50 million beachgoers visit Encinitas beaches.
During that time, there have been over 27,000 rescues performed, 675,445 preventative actions taken along the coastline and 75,300 medical aids rendered, according to the city.
After his remarks, Giles was honored with a special ceremony as he walked ashore for the final time surrounded by the current Marine Safety Division officers and seasonal lifeguards he has led for so many years.
“Today we are here to say, your watch stands relieved. Relieved by those you have trained, guided and led. Lifeguard, you stand relieved. We have the watch,” Veria said.