ISLA Lifeguards Minimize Drowning in the Dominican Republic

Top Quote This Thanksgiving Holiday, volunteer lifeguards from the non-profit, the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA), traveled to the Dominican Republic (DR) as part of an initiative to minimize drowning. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) November 30, 2012 - Founded in 2008, ISLA's mission is to prevent drowning worldwide by building a culture of water safety. Comprised entirely of volunteers; the organization provides training, medical supplies, disaster relief, and emergency personnel to communities in need around the world.

    As part of a three stage initiative to minimize deaths and injuries caused by drowning, ISLA conducted two Basic Open Water Lifeguard Training Courses in the DR. For the training, ISLA collaborated with the Dominican Civil Defense-North Coast Sector, Viva Wyndham Tangerine Hotel in Cabarete, Laurel Eastman Kite school, Alegria Hotel, the La Romana-Bayahibe Hotel Association, and the International Law and Security Association (ILASA).

    The first lifeguard training course took place in Cabarete, Puerto Plata on the North Coast, and the second course took place in La Romana-Bayahibe on the South East Coast. The two courses included a total of forty-seven participants from local surf and kite schools, various Hotels and Resorts, the Dominican Civil Defense, the Dominican Red Cross, employees from the La Romana-Bayahibe Hotel Association and other local businesses.

    The courses included classroom and practical instruction on Basic Oceanography and Marine Hazards, Lifeguard Systems and Operation, Rescue Recognition and Realization, Basic Beach-Related First Aid, and Communication/Job Skills. In addition, the course participants were set to perform physical events that tested their running and ocean swimming capability.

    Thirty-six of the participants passed the final mock rescue and written exams and received the ISLA Basic Open Water Lifeguard Certificate. In 2011, the ISLA Certificate was accepted by the Dominican Civil Defense as an official certificate for all lifeguards in the DR.

    "This training we incorporated ISLA certified Dominican Republic lifeguards as course instructors and next trip we will continue the transition towards establishing permanent Dominican Republic lifeguard agencies and educational training," said ISLA's International Relations Manager and Course Instructor, William Koon. "Through our aquatic training, we are changing the way the Dominicans see water. Through that change, we are empowering the locals to take charge of their own education programs and continue to reduce drowning."

    The next project for ISLA and the DR is to establish permanent lifeguard agencies and to add lifeguard coverage to beaches without any rescue personnel. The next project will take place during Easter 2013.

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