Monica Broumand is a rare breed—she’s worked for the same organization for nearly fifteen years. She became a temporary crew member with the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol in 1991 when she was still a student in Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). In 1992, she was offered a permanent job as one of ten harbor patrol officers.
Variety Keeps it Interesting
The harbor patrol provides security, law enforcement, and emergency response for the Santa Barbara waterfront and harbor area, including four marinas that shelter approximately 1,200 boats and the well-known Stearns Wharf, which is visited annually by more than six million people. “When we’re on duty, we’re on call for whatever comes up,” explains Broumand. “For example, if the weather’s nice we might just keep the peace. But on a stormy day, we might be in rescue mode, helping people stranded at sea or keeping boats from breaking loose in their slips.”
"When we’re on duty, we’re on call for whatever comes up"
Other duties include towing boats, assigning visiting boats into slips, enforcing marine pollution laws—even animal control. “Sometimes there are sick sea lions or birds that we have to capture for rehabilitation,” Broumand says.
Skills, Knowledge, and Common Sense
A native Santa Barabaran, Broumand was a student in SBCC’s Marine Technology Program, where she earned an A.S. degree in commercial diving and certification in recreational diving instruction. Her knowledge of marine biology, oceanography, boat rigging, and meteorology has helped her in her career. “You obviously have to be familiar with water and the marine environment to work in harbor patrol,” she says. “Even though diving isn’t part of the job, my diving knowledge is useful because I’m very comfortable around water.”
Broumand maintains a variety of licenses and certifications. She is a registered emergency medical technician (EMT) and a certified Red Cross lifeguard, has a Coast Guard 50-ton captain’s license, and because she carries a gun, she must qualify four times a year at a shooting range. The harbor patrol sends officers to numerous training classes such as marine fire fighting, accident investigation, rescue boat operations, administration of justice, and firearms safety. And continuing education in new medical techniques is critical for maintaining EMT certification. But Broumand says the many of the most important skills are self-taught and ingrained on the job. “Common sense is one of the most important traits,” she adds. “You have to have your wits about you at all times.”
"Every day has a different challenge, whether it’s keeping the peace, helping people, or protecting property"
In addition, a harbor patrol officer has to be healthy and have the stamina and energy to deal with emergency situations that might require extra hours. It helps to be friendly and able to relate to all kinds of people. “Having a variety of duties and job skills makes it fun to go to work,” Broumand concludes. “Every day has a different challenge, whether it’s keeping the peace, helping people, or protecting property.”
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