Casey Owens worked his last day at the Boating Safety Unit last week. Fellow guards that worked with him for the last twenty-eight years hosted a BBQ in his honor.
Casey was a valued member of the Dive Team and he participated in numerous underwater search and recovery missions. He is a highly skilled diver that we were lucky to have. Casey is certified to operate every piece of equipment and to instruct others on every vessel. He has worked every station, but spent most of his career working in La Jolla and the Boating Safety Unit. Casey is credited with making hundreds of rescues.
One rescue took place when a 50 foot vessel collided with the South Channel jetty. Casey was off duty and paddling his outrigger when he witnessed the vessel hit the rocks. Casey abandoned his outrigger and swam to the boat as a large set wave hit. He was able to time the rising of the swell and let the wave lift him up and onto the doomed boat. Casey quickly scooped up an elderly woman and dove back into the water, saving her life.
Casey has a calm, seasoned demeanor that gives confidence to those under his command or working alongside him. Casey has earned his retirement, but losing him is another loss to the Lifeguard Service. Casey stated that “he has forgotten most of the rescues, but will never forget the friends he made while performing them.”
Casey spends a lot of time surfing, diving and paddling, and we are certain that he will jump into action again whenever he is needed.
Ed Harris is a husband and father of two, a San Diego Lifeguard Sergeant, union spokesman and a former District 2 San Diego City Councilmember. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org