“This project [in Phuket] is the 49th humanitarian project in close to 20 countries around the world, and the first time we have done this in Thailand,” ISLA President Henry Reyes told The Phuket News’ sister publication Khao Phuket yesterday (Nov 20).
“There are 70 participants in this project, which includes lifeguards from various hotels, surfers and other interested parties. There are volunteer trainers from all over the world including the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Costa Rica.
“After the completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate from the ISLA,” he added.
“Our association started out in 2008, with its headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, USA,” Mr Reyes explained.
“We just found out about everything that’s been going on in Phuket. Surf clubs reached out to us for some aid, to share skills and knowledge to those who are interested. So, hopefully it will help them out in water rescue situations,” he said.
“Lifeguards really need to be supported out here. Besides the training, a lot of equipment, a lot of resources need to be coming their way to make sure the beaches are safe so they can keep local tourism flowing smoothly,” Mr Reyes said.
“It is really important that the local government invests in their lifeguards and continues to back and support them. Most people don’t realise that lifeguards are extremely, highly trained. You can’t just throw someone else in the job and expect them to be able to recognise the ocean conditions, know how to do it, be out there, swim and make rescues.
“There is a lot of training involved, even to know how to swim. You need a very high calibre of person, very few people can do that, and have those types skills,” he said.
“So, it is very important that the local government invests in those people, to maintain them, to pay them well and keep them out here,” Mr Reyes noted..
The Phuket News and Khao Phuket are proud media sponsors of this event.