ISLA/LWB team with NRC guards during Semana Santa 2014
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.
- May 8, 2014
-- Over the Easter weekend, ISLA and Lifeguard without Borders sent a team of 10 professional lifeguards to provide rescue equipment and assist the Nicaragua Red Cross (NRC) with aquatic safety lifeguard rescue operations in Nicaragua. The Semana Santa national holiday celebration and is traditionally associated with large crowds, large beach festivals and parties, and multiple drowning events.
The ISLA/LWB team split into two large groups to guard Jiquilillo Beach and Pase el Cabello from April 17-April 20. Both teams started each morning with physical training and practicing lifeguard techniques before guarding the beaches for approximately 8 hours. Although the beach crowds were smaller than usual due to a series of earthquakes prior to the Easter weekend and the country being on a tsunami warning , there were still numerous rip currents and the team made two rescues and had 216 preventative actions.
"This was ISLA most streamlined project to date,” said Henry Reyes, Chairman/President of ISLA and team leader of the Nicaragua trip. “The crowds were a bit low due to the country being on tsunami alert from a recent earthquake, but the 3-6 ft surf made for some hazardous conditions."
ISLA was ultimately successful in its mission of supplying additional equipment to the NRC and growing their relationship. Many of the ISLA/LWB team members noted that about half of the NRC lifeguards would not meet the basic physical fitness requirements to perform the technical aspects of an ocean rescue. Those who were most capable previously took the ISLA Open Water Rescue Course in 2012, making it clear that conducting another training course for the NRC would be highly beneficial.
Founded in 2008, ISLA exists to advance professional lifesaving development to areas in need around the globe. Out of a deep passion for open water and a strong desire to prevent drownings, ISLA aids people in championing the aquatic safety situation in their own coastal communities through lifeguard training programs, lifeguard exchanges, equipment donations, purchasing connections, and utilizing the latest technology to sustain a global network of lifeguards that share information, techniques, stories, and culture. ISLA’s mission is to see friends and partners around the globe have the necessary tools to keep their water safe.