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On guard


On guard

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by MIKE KING THE major school recess is next month and, with hundreds of children expected to flock to the beaches, lifeguards are appealing to parents  to be more vigilant.Fabian Larrier, a lifeguard  on the Rockley beach coastline, echoed the sentiments of his colleagues across the island.“There are going to be scores of children on the beaches in a few weeks’ time and it helps a lot if the parents keep a close eye on their children. Prevention is better than cure,” he said.Earlier in the week, general manager of the National Conservation Commission, Keith Neblett,  said the commission was undertaking  a training programme that should soon see an increase in lifeguards.“We are short of lifeguards. We have over 80 lifeguards stretched around  the island, and the minimum number you need to be effective at most  of the lifeguard huts is three. “We are currently on a programme where at the end of May we should have at least ten new lifeguards that would add to the numbers and increase  the level of safety on our  beaches,”  he said. Big, tough Richard Jones, another lifeguard posted at Rockley, was quick  to call a spade a spade.“We want bigger red flags. We want more security in terms of police presence and we want more respect from the public. Far too often they ignore the regulations,” he said.Larrier was in total agreement.“One of the biggest obstacles facing the lifeguards is cooperation from  the public. The public do not cooperate as we would like  them to. It would make our  job a lot easier if they would heed our advice.”Over at Dover, lifeguards Adrian Bynoe, Terry Harewood and Diana Ross say they are prepared to deal with any challenge that comes their way over the next few months. They agreed that cooperation from the public was important if they were  to reduce the rescues.At Enterprise, Don Vaughan and his team called for better pay and improved facilities. They wanted a more elevated tower that would provide a better vantage point.“When you are on the same level as the people in the water, you don’t always pick up their heads so easily,” Vaughan said.Rockley is the only beach facility that has a solar-powered public address system and siren to alert swimmers to potential dangers. Larrier said it was a step in the right direction, but more still needed  to be done.“We do have the only siren, but Dover, for example, has electricity running towards their tower. We have no electricity inside of the tower and that has to be looked at.”Mikey, who limes on the South Coast, says some of the lifeguards do a good job, but he was concerned that others were not as committed as they should be.“Some of the lifeguards are not like the lifeguards of before. Many of them are just about looking for women, and a few of them take a nap every now and then.”Larry Walcott, who frequents Miami Beach on Enterprise, agreed that some of the lifeguards needed to take their job more seriously.