Remembering Zack Chambers: Donations Help With Beach Safety in Nayarit
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October 21, 2012

Lifeguard training in Sayulita, Mexico, continues thanks to local contributions to the Zachary Chambers Foundation. The foundation was created to remember Zack Chambers, a Port Townsend artist who died from a wave-caused injury in Sayulita in 2010 – with no lifeguard or emergency aid readily available.

Thanks to the generosity of Jefferson County and Port Townsend residents, the efforts of the Zachary Chambers Foundation are going strong in Sayulita, Mexico.

The foundation was established in the name of Zack Chambers, a graphic artist and T-shirt producer in Port Townsend who lost his life in a wave in Sayulita while on vacation in May of 2010 – with no emergency aid available.

On May 18, 2010, Zack and his wife, Nya, and sons Eli and Keenan were in Sayulita, a fishing and surfing village north of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's west coast. It was their fourth day of what they described to friends as a vacation of a lifetime; Zack especially loved water sports.

After playing in and around the water for hours that day, Zack went in for one more swim before the family went back to their cabin in Sayulita.

He ran into the ocean and jumped into a wave.

Some combination of the wave's energy and the hard, sandy bottom left Zack floating face down in the water, family friends relayed.

Family members brought him onto the beach. Other swimmers/beachgoers rallied around and helped provide CPR and emergency aid.

Chambers was conscious when he was brought ashore but could not move or speak. He was unconscious when an ambulance arrived after about 45 minutes.

People, equipment and money from the United States, Canada and Mexico are helping improve beach rescue efforts at two areas along Mexico's west coast.

Since then the foundation has facilitated a major plan for emergency services development in the area including lifeguards, ambulance service, and more, all in Zack’s name.

The grassroots program that began in Port Townsend has grown to become the catalyst connecting key players throughout the Mexican, US, and Canadian fire service. Equipment, fire and emergency vehicles, infrastructure and training are all moving forward in many areas.

The Zachary Chambers Foundation continues its primary mission, sponsoring annual lifeguard training in Sayulita and San Pancho. A group of fire instructors from Port Townsend and Puget Sound will soon depart to conduct the 2012 Sayulita Lifeguard School.

Joining other instructors from Surf Lifesaving del Sur based in San Diego, they will deliver the lifeguard training, attend dedication ceremonies for recently delivered emergency vehicles, and meet with other key international coordinators in an effort to merge programs conducted in Mexico.

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