Having grown up with countless opportunities to spend time in or on the water, Maverick Moore “fell in love” with the ocean. While attending San Clemente High School, he focused that passion by joining his other friends in swimming and water polo.
“It was just the thing to do, and then (I) got into it and loved it,” said Moore. “One of the best choices I ever made.”
Knowing that college wasn’t the right fit for him, he combined his passion for swimming with a desire to help others. That took him down a path of becoming a first responder and earning a certificate to become an Emergency Medical Technician.
Moore joined the city’s Marine Safety Division in 2019 as an ocean lifeguard, and he has been promoted several times over the years. Now at 20 years old, Moore has earned the title of lifeguard supervisor.
And outside of work, he’s served as a mentor, as competition manager for the San Clemente Surf Lifesaving Association, and has also found success as a doryman.
A new title that Moore can add to that list is the San Clemente Exchange Club’s Lifeguard of the Year—a recognition bestowed upon those who display commitment to protecting the lives of visitors to San Clemente beaches.
“It doesn’t matter what role he takes—rescues, treating patients, enforcing ordinances, interacting with the public or teaching younger guards—he’s always been the leader,” Marine Safety Capt. Rod Mellott said on Tuesday, Sept. 12, during an award ceremony for Moore.
“On any day, no matter what he’s faced with, without hesitation, Maverick is ready for action,” Mellott continued, calling Moore a “valued team member” and a great lifeguard who knows how to be in control and take care of whatever situations arise.
To earn the distinction of Lifeguard of the Year, one must earn enough votes by their peers within the Marine Safety Division.
According to Mellott, Moore rescued 11 swimmers during the past 13-week summer period, adding to a career total of 198 swimmers in distress saved.
Mellott reported earlier that his team of 53 rescued 1,100 distressed swimmers and performed thousands of other preventative actions related to the 1.4 million visitors to local beaches this summer.
Moore on Tuesday said he’s chiefly aware that his position isn’t to be taken lightly, and he and other lifeguards are tasked with helping others when they find themselves in a position where they can’t help themselves.
“I take physical training super seriously,” Moore said. “Any aspect that I can build experience (with) to apply to lifeguarding, I do that, just because I know (that) if I had kids down there on the beach, I’d want a qualified person watching them.”
Without the presence of lifeguards, Moore added, there would be many more tragedies on the beach.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Moore also received a custom surfboard from recent Boardbuilders Hall of Fame inductee Terry Senate, a mayoral challenge coin from Mayor Chris Duncan, as well as the Dick Hazard Award and a portrait from Kelan O’Brien
Duncan also took a moment to tease Moore for his outfit—a suit and sandals.
“I want to give you credit, Maverick, for wearing the patented San Clemente tuxedo here,” Duncan said, adding: “I would replace the tie with an aloha shirt next time.”
While giving his acceptance speech, Moore thanked the panel of sponsors and contributors who made Tuesday’s ceremony at the San Clemente Community Center possible. That included Conrad Realtors, Kelan O’Brien, Terry Senate, and the San Clemente Exchange Club.
“I really appreciate everything you guys did today, and I’ll keep working hard,” said Moore. “You really just got to pick something and go for it, and then it’s golden.”