Project Wipeout

Mission Statement

The Project Wipeout mission is to inspire a culture of water safety at the beach and beyond through education and community engagement.


Project Wipeout started in 1979 with a mission to “wipeout” spinal cord injuries at the beach. Today, Project Wipeout continues as a hospital-based community benefit program dedicated to reducing the burden of beach injuries and drowning events. Through partnership with local lifeguard departments, hospital personnel, and nonprofit organizations, Project Wipeout promotes beach and water safety culture through targeted education initiatives and engagement with the community. Committed to evidence-based practices and collaborative programming, our activities aspire to increase the quality and effectiveness of beach injury and drowning prevention efforts at a local, regional, and national level.

Project Wipeout Advisory Committee

Project Wipeout programming and strategic planning is driven by an advisory committee comprised of representatives from local Orange County lifeguard departments and representatives from Hoag Hospital. The mission of the Project Wipeout Advisory Committee is to aid the Hoag Hospital Community Benefit Department in realizing the Project Wipeout mission; serving as consultants on strategies, programmatic activities, and technical content. The committee meets several times per year.

Project Wipeout Principal Activities

  • Annual Lifeguard Education Conference: Each year, Project Wipeout hosts an Annual Lifeguard Education Conference for local lifeguards. This conference is a continuing education and training opportunity for lifeguards to learn from doctors, nurses and other experts on a variety of topics related to professional ocean lifeguards.

Local lifeguards hear from a spinal cord injury survivor at the Annual Lifeguard Education Conference.

  • School beach safety curriculum: In 2017, the Project Wipeout Advisory Committee engaged in a collaborative process to develop a beach safety presentation for use in local schools. Lifeguards frequently visit schools each spring to educate students about the various hazards at the beach and provide direction on the actions one can take to stay safe while around the water.

Lifeguards from the Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department deliver water safety information to an assembly of 5th and 6th grade students at a local elementary school.

  • Community outreach events: Hoag Hospital Nurses and local lifeguards frequently attend community events to spread the word about beach and pool safety.

Huntington Beach lifeguards share beach safety information at a community event.

  • Collaboration with drowning prevention, lifesaving, and beach safety partners: Hoag Hospital collaborates with other groups involved in the prevention of drowning and beach injuries on the local, national, and international levels. Project Wipeout personnel have attended and presented at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention, The United States Lifesaving Association Education Conference, and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Annually Conference; and frequently collaborate with the Orange County Drowning Prevention Taskforce.
  • “Eyes Save Lives” Drowning Prevention Presentations for Parents and Caregivers: In collaboration with Hoag Hospital Emergency Department Nurses, Project Wipeout developed a short water safety presentation for parents and caregivers. Nurses, lifeguards, swim coaches, and swim teachers deliver this presentation at swim lessons, home owner’s association meetings, parent teacher association meetings, and other locations where parents and caregivers are gathered. Visit theEyes Save Lives page for more information.
  • Californian Water Safety Summit: In 2019, Project Wipeout and the Ben Carlson Memorial and Scholarship Foundation partnered to organize and host the first Southern California Water Safety Summit, a meeting of professionals involved in water safety from across the region.