Youth to put thier lifesaving skills to the test

2019-06-27 06:01
Senior lifeguards Paul Makupula (left) and Zweli Mafutha (right), with the 18 trainees that have qualified to undergo the gruelling Lifeguard Award exam.                                          Photo:SUPPLIED

Senior lifeguards Paul Makupula (left) and Zweli Mafutha (right), with the 18 trainees that have qualified to undergo the gruelling Lifeguard Award exam. Photo:SUPPLIED

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AFTER four months of gruelling training, 18 young people from Kouga are ready to put their lifesaving skills to the test.

The group, trained by Kouga Municipality, have all qualified to undertake Lifesaving South Africa’s final exam to become professional lifeguards.

Included are candidates from Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp and St Francis Bay.

“We are very proud of the group,” Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said.

“The training requires immense stamina and commitment. Many candidates dropped out along the way, but these 18 refused to give up.

“They trained tirelessly, with no remuneration or incentive other than their determination to become professional lifeguards.”

He said the trainees would now face a tough final exam to obtain a Lifeguard Award (LA), a qualification which can help them secure work anywhere in the world.

“They have already passed certain prequalification tests to qualify for entry to the exam. This included a 400m swim in under eight minutes and an underwater-swim without fins of at least 25 metres.

“Given that some of the candidates could not even swim when the training began, their qualifying for the exam is a true testimony of their dedication.

“I would also like to commend our senior lifeguards, who led the training, for the fantastic work they did with the group,” Hendricks said.

The final exam will take place in Jeffreys Bay or Cape St Francis on a date to be confirmed.

The Mayor said the trainees would be tested on various essential competencies, ranging from hand signals and emergency care to using different types of equipment and craft to rescue victims, be they conscious or unconscious.

“When you are a lifeguard, mistakes can cost someone their life. The exam is, therefore, very tough and only the smallest margin of error is allowed,” he said.

“Those who pass, are also retested annually on some of the core competencies.”

The candidates responded to an invitation from the municipality earlier this year for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 to register for free lifeguard training.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson, whose directorate is responsible for lifeguard services, said the aim of the initiative was to increase the number of local lifeguards and give young people the opportunity to benefit from seasonal employment opportunities.

The training was open to Kouga residents only.


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