BEN DID GO and nine years later we still remember!

By Tom Johnson – July 05, 2023

Source: Stu News Newport

It’s hard to believe that Thursday, July 6 will mark nine years since the passing of Newport Beach Lifeguard Ben Carlson. He was special to so many people, as his unexpected and untimely death would prove.

On that Sunday, in 2014, shortly after 5 p.m., a Newport Beach rescue boat identified a swimmer in distress off 16th Street. The surf at the time was six-to-eight feet.

Ben, as everyone knew, entered the water to make that rescue and swam to the man, making contact, before they were both hit by an unexpected large wave. The swimmer Ben was attempting to rescue was successfully pulled from the water, but Ben was not.

The statue of Ben Carlson seemingly saluting the fireworks offered from last year’s Christmas Boat Parade show

The statue of Ben Carlson seemingly saluting the fireworks offered from last year’s Christmas Boat Parade show

Lifeguards, the fire department, a police helicopter, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol, lifeguards from Laguna Beach and State Parks’ personnel joined in the search. Twenty-five entered the water that evening and another 30 supported from the air and shore.

Ben was eventually located around 8 p.m. and shortly thereafter was pronounced deceased.

He was only 32 years old.

Since that day, friends, family and the community have not forgotten his bigger-than-life presence.

Today, a nine-foot marine-grade stainless steel statue/sculpture of Ben sits on a concrete pedestal in the center of McFadden Square, near the Newport Pier, overlooking his Pacific Ocean.

And, a foundation in his name celebrates his life annually, raising funds for scholarships and making many other community contributions in his name.

Three words rose up from that day that still echo through this community nine years later, BEN DID GO!

We should all remember Ben this time of the year, because he and others that worked alongside of him make our life better and safer each and every day here in Newport Beach.

To support the foundation in his name, go to

By Tom Johnson – July 05, 2023

Source: Stu News Newport

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newport Harbor’s newest and largest public dock is now open for recreational boaters.

On Friday, March 29 I had the pleasure of joining Newport Beach City Council members along with officials from the County of Orange, the Irvine Company and State Assembly to celebrate the Balboa Marina Public Pier grand opening.

Newport Beach has a handful of iconic attractions that have stood the test of time: The Newport Pier, which replaced the original McFadden Wharf (1888-1939) and is registered as a California Historical Landmark; the Balboa Pavilion, which opened on July 1, 1906 and is the city’s oldest standing building; and the Balboa Island Ferry, which went into service in 1919 to bring cars and passengers across 900 feet of water between Balboa Island and the Balboa Fun Zone.

Michele Gile reports from Newport Beach with Seymour Beek, where many are celebrating that the beloved Balboa Island ferry’s fate is no longer in jeopardy after receiving a $7.9 million grant to convert from diesel to zero-emissions operations by 2025.

The 8th Annual Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival will return to the Balboa Yacht Club, June 7 – 8, 2024 with more than 40 wooden vessels of all sizes on display, and a collection of master artisans and craftsmen at work.

This year’s festival theme is “The Art & Craft of the Wooden Boat” in celebration of the creative artistry, intricate craftsmanship, and timeless beauty of wooden boats.
“Event guests will be able to immerse themselves in the centuries-old artform of wooden boat building, and the fine woodworking and artistic details that adorn the boats,” said event chair Stephen Paljieg. “This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. Its theme captures the essence of the passion and artistry behind these magnificent, one-of-a-kind watercrafts and the inclusion of the master craftsmen who build and keep them in ‘Bristol condition’ takes it to a whole new level of experience.”