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/
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 is accepted by the Dominican Civil Defense as an official certificate for all lifeguards in the DR.
“This training we incorporated ISLA certified Dominican lifeguards as course instructors and in our upcoming projects we will continue the transition towards establishing permanent Dominican lifeguard agencies and educational training programs," said ISLA’s International Relations Manager and Course Instructor, William Koon. “Through these open water lifeguard trainings, we are challenging the way people see and understand the aquatic environment in the Dominican Republic. The heart of our goal is to empower locals to take charge of their own lifeguard and education programs that continue to reduce drowning in the country.”
Future projects for ISLA in the DR are continuous efforts 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, at which time ISLA will begin to transfer lifeguard responsibilities to local Dominican agencies and businesses.
To learn more about ISLA, please visit the website at http://www.islasurf.org. To reduce drowning worldwide, please donate to the Dominican Republic trip, http://www.islasurf.org/