Lifeguard towers are becoming the new status symbol on South Florida’s beaches. Cities are rolling out artsy new stands meant to turn heads with whimsical designs and cheerful colors.
The impetus might be Miami Beach, which started the trend in 2015 after winning awards and inspiring headlines with its iconic Art Deco-style designs.
One tower resembles a lighthouse with red and white stripes. Another, inspired by The Jetsons cartoon, is round and painted hot pink. A third looks more like a Mardi Gras float painted in green, purple and yellow.
Now, Hollywood will get curvy new Art Deco-inspired lifeguard stands come 2018. The new towers will be blue and white, with a porthole window and a wrap-around deck. Being iconic can be costly: The 20 new stands will run $1.5 million in total.
“They looked at Miami Beach and other nationally known beaches to see what would make us unique,” Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said of the design team. “It’s just another way for our beach to stand out.”
Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein says he wants to replace his lifeguard stands with a cool new design.
“Lifeguard stands are ubiquitous, but some cities have taken that opportunity to brand their town,” he said. “Our towers are drab and brown. They are all in need of complete replacement.”
Hallandale Beach has new lifeguard stands that sport a cheerful aqua motif.
Mayor Joy Cooper says they’re the kind of towers “you’re going to remember. They’re cute.”
Not all cities are embracing flashy new stands.
Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale are going with a more classic look.
“Ours don’t look like Miami Beach’s,” said Breck Ballou, who oversees Fort Lauderdale’s ocean rescue team. “But it doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as we can see the ocean.’’
But Miami Beach resident Allison Cotter, who loves the lighthouse design, says the towers help dress up the beach.
“So many people come by to get their picture taken with it,” she said of her favorite tower. “It’s really become iconic. I actually watch people walking down the beach and they’ll make a beeline for it. It’s a landmark.”