Three Grade 11 learners from Camps Bay High School are ready to dive into the seas and save lives. As soon as beaches reopen, that is.
Daniel Thetard, Rafe Tayler and Sam Warren recently received their Lifeguard Award (LA) after completing training to become lifeguards for DHL Clifton Surf Lifesaving club.
The diploma qualifies recipients to work as professional lifeguards.
However, with most beaches still closed to curb the spread of Covid-19, the trio will have to wait a little longer before they can put their newly acquired skills to the test.
Mandy Thompson, secretary at the club, says in order to qualify for the training, participants must be older than 16 years.
The intense training comprises a series of modules covering sea conditions, emergency first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques, communication signals, rescue craft use, spinal board use and one man drag and rescue techniques, among others. The training takes between eight and 10 weeks to complete.
“The exam comprises a written test on all you have learnt, examination of your CPR technique, a run-swim-run in less than 10 minutes, signals and all the rescue techniques,” says Thompson.
She adds that Daniel and King Langdon (who received his Lifeguard Award last year) completed the level three First Aid course, bringing them one step closer to becoming first responders.
Carol van der Spuy, communications manager at Camps Bay High, says they are proud of the learners’ achievement.
“It takes a lot of commitment and determination to complete the course and our learners saw it through,” Van der Spuy says.
She adds the school always encourages learners to plough back into their area through any form of community service.
Van der Spuy says they are proud to have learners qualify each year to complete the course.
Daniel says he started swimming at the age of seven and had no plans of exiting the programme until he received the Lifeguard Award.
The 16-year-old says helping others has always been his passion. He adds that he is proud that he will now get an opportunity to put his skills to the test.
“Lending a helping hand to others is something I enjoy doing. I am looking forward to spending more time working at the beach.”
According to Daniel, keeping a calm mind is one of the most important factors to apply when trying to save someone in distress.
Thompson says the course is open to anyone starting from children aged eight and older.
“Nippers is a junior programme that introduces children aged eight to 14 to surf lifesaving.
“It is a fun, outdoor activity that grows a child’s confidence and teaches valuable life skills and knowledge about the aquatic/marine environment.”
According to Thompson, the Nippers pathway teaches lessons and skills, allowing children to continue in lifesaving and carry over into other sporting codes and life in general as they grow older.
Thompson says, because of the level three lockdown regulations, the club is currently closed, adding that it was severely affected by the national lockdown last year.