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By Andrea Papagianis

The Dana Point-based beach safety agency U.S. Ocean Safety will continue to provide rescuers on Orange County beaches under the name OC Lifeguards for the next three years, with an added annual contingency of more than $86,000 for potential staffing increases.

Last week, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a contract extension with the private entity that has provided year-round lifeguard services since 1990. With the added contingency, the county could pay $1.9 million annually for lifeguards on Aliso and the South Laguna cove beaches, Salt Creek, Strand, Capistrano and Baby beaches in Dana Point and Poche Beach just north of San Clemente.

OC Parks staff recommended the additional money for unforeseen staffing needs during summer months. A staff report cited this year’s two-week summer break extension by the Capistrano Unified School District as reason to believe staffing needs could remain heightened.

Supervisor Pat Bates asked staff to provide board members an update once a 2013-2014 school calendar is finalized by CUSD. The current contract allows for two more extensions in three year intervals, which will go before the board for approval. For now, the contract passed with the potential to pay out more than the $1.82 million currently set if staffing needs increase.

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