The 30-hour course, to be held over three days (Nov 20-22), is free and open to all participants who can pass the swim test. Successful participants will receive the prestigious ISLA International Lifeguard Certification, which is recognised in 24 countries around the globe, explained ISLA Thailand Coordinator Daren Jenner.
“These professional lifeguards from around the world volunteer their time, pay their own airfare, and donate B30,000 each to purchase lifesaving equipment that will be donated to our lifeguards. This will be the largest event of its kind ever held in Phuket,” he said.
“We have been planning it for a year now, but it is sorely needed as the lifeguard situation in Phuket is in crisis,” Mr Jenner explained.
“ISLA exists to advance professional lifesaving development to areas in need around the globe. And right now, Phuket is definitely in need. Everyone is invited, including; Thai Navy and Marine Police, lifeguards, Civil Defence Volunteers, hotel watersport staff, swim teams, and anyone else who can swim 500 metres in 10 minutes,” he added.
The trainers hail from the following well-known agencies around the world:
- Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) UK
- Surf Lifesaving Australia (SLSA)
- Westpac Rescue Helicopter Australia
- Cruz Roja Costa Rica
- Huntington Beach Municipal Lifeguards (CA, USA)
- Laguna Beach Municipal Lifeguards (CA, USA)
- Santa Monica Harbor Patrol (CA, USA)
- Los Angeles Fire Depratment (USA)
- California State Parks (USA)
- Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue (NC, USA)
- Ocean City Lifeguards (MD, USA)
“The training will be held on two beaches at the same time, Surin and Bang Tao, to ensure adequate lifeguard coverage during the course,” Mr Jenner explained.
The ISLA Basic Open Water Lifeguard Course is designed for people with little or no background in open water lifeguarding. It provides an introductory exposure to both the theoretical and practical components of open water lifeguard subjects such as lifeguard operations, aquatic injury prevention, and basic open water rescue.
The course is extremely physically demanding, and requires participants to be in excellent shape. The completion of several long distance swims and runs are required for certification, Mr Jenner noted.
ISLA provides lifeguard training programs, lifeguard exchanges and equipment donations worldwide in its mission to advance professional lifesaving development to areas in need around the globe.
Since its beginning, ISLA has conducted 45 humanitarian projects around the globe, deployed over 315 international volunteers for operations in 19 countries worldwide and comprises volunteers from 12 countries.
“Out of a deep passion for the ocean and a strong desire to prevent drownings, ISLA aids people in championing the aquatic safety situation in their own coastal communities. We do this through lifeguard training programs, lifeguard exchanges, equipment donations, purchasing connections, and by utilizing the latest technology to sustain a global network of lifeguards that share information, techniques, stories, and culture. Our wish is to see our friends and partners around the globe have the necessary tools to keep their water safe,” The Phuket News was told by email.
For Phuket, the ISLA’s move to help provide better lifeguards on the beaches gained momentum in January with a letter sent by ISLA President Henry Reyes to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha petitioning him not to reduce funding for lifesaving services in Phuket. (See story here.)
That petition resulted in the ISLA in April submitting its plan directly to Deputy Prime Minister Gen Thanasak Patimapragorn to upskill Phuket lifeguards to world standard and make the critical life-saving service a professional career on the island. (See story here.)
At that time, the ISLA was looking to raise B1 million to bring the expert lifeguard trainers to Phuket to lead the November course. However, more funds are needed, The Phuket News was told.
“We are looking for sponsors,” Mr Jenner said.
Among the items sought for to support the free lifeguard training, including monetary donations, are are drinking water, wind and rain-proof beach shelters for Surin and BangTao beaches, chairs, transportation volunteers (with car or pickup), portable toilets, restaurants who can provide a meal for 20-25 lifeguard trainers, electric generators for three days and promotional banners.
To sign up to join the event or to become a sponsor visit the event on Facebook @ Free Ocean Lifeguard Training (click here.).
For more information about the course, click here.