Building on the groundwork of years past, ISLA sent a team of thirteen volunteer lifeguards and launched its first ever Open Water Rescue course in Nicaragua during the Easter Holiday. The Easter Holiday, known as Semana Santa, is a time to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Thousands of Nicaragua citizens and tourists flock to the beach cities to celebrate. Unfortunately, a large non-swimming population, alcohol, treacherous ocean conditions, and a lack of lifeguard services have historically combined to form a deadly week for Nicaraguan citizens and tourists.
In an effort to reduce this tragic outcome, ISLA implemented a two phase program targeted at training Nicaraguan lifeguards in the classroom, followed by in the field guidance on the implementation of these techniques at large surf beaches across the country during Semana Santa.
For lifeguard training, ISLA conducted an intensive three-day Ocean Lifeguarding Training Course, which included a First Aid and CPR practical exam, physical instruction, written test, and a non-buoy and buoy rescue practical exam. Twenty-five lifeguard trainees completed the rigorous training course and received Basic ISLA Lifeguard Certification.
Following the three day course, ISLA sent teams to the beaches of El Transito, Poneloya, and Jiquilillo where they worked alongside the newly trained Nicaraguan Lifeguards and assisted in developing a guarding strategy and resource allocation plan customized for the specific needs of each beach. During the holiday weekend the three teams made thirty-seven rescues, conducted seventy-one preventative actions, and performed nine medical aids.
“We are very grateful for the assistance given to our small country of Nicaragua,” said Chief Lifeguard of the Nicaraguan Red Cross/Red Crescent Cesar Guillen. ISLA will continue to work alongside with the Nicaraguan Red Cross/Red Crescent to promote ocean education, lifeguard trainings, and public safety.
To learn more about ISLA, please visit the website at http://www.islasurf.org or the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/