My name is Avery Dragon, I was born and raised in Brevard County Florida my entire life. I started working for Brevard County Ocean Rescue (BCOR) at the beginning of 2018 when I was 17 years old. I was recruited by a woman who used to be a captain for BCOR. She inspired me to try out and helped train me. She continuously pushed me to be better and stronger.

After I passed the tryout, the training was mentally and physically draining. There was a lot of information to memorize and the physical training was exhausting.

     After my rookie year I applied for a Lieutenant position, I got the position and began working as an LT. There was only one other female officer in the whole county and I was the youngest officer in the county.

     When I was barely 18 I performed CPR for the first time on a drowning victim. I was a brand new LT and running a zone solo on a very busy day. Dispatch toned us out for a code-99 out of the lifeguarded area. I responded and we worked on the victim until the rescue arrived and the victim was transported.

     A couple months later, that same year, I had my first panicked victim. I saw a woman getting sucked out by a strong rip current. The waves were really big and rough that day and the rips were pulling really strong. I ran into the water to rescue them, however, when I got to the woman she grabbed onto me and wouldn’t let go.

It caught me off guard and I couldn’t get her off of me, I struggled with this woman for a long time and I was struggling to breathe because she was drowning me. I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to hold my breath and was going to drown but finally I pinned her away from me in between myself and my rescue can and started to kick us towards the shore and I finally got us to shore safely.

     Ocean rescue has a very special place in my heart, it’s different than any other emergency service. Unlike the fire department and police department, we aren’t usually called to respond to an emergency. We have to constantly be on the look out for an emergency to happen in front of us. This creates a whole new level of stress because you are the one responsible to try and recognize the dangerous situation before it happens and when it does happen, it’s your responsibility to respond.

I love ocean rescue because of the amazing men and women I get to work with every day, you truly become a part of a little ocean rescue family. The ocean is my happy place and I’m so blessed to be able to protect people and make them feel safe on the beach.

     I highly encourage anyone to tryout for an ocean rescue organization. You will make relationships with so many amazing men and women. You’ll be able to see so many beautiful views, animals, and sea life. You will be able to constantly grow stronger mentally and physically. And there’s no greater feeling driving home from work after a long day and knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.

Images provided by Avery Dragon.