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Swim lessons for 100

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

Swim lessons for 100

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About 100 Barbadians will be taught to swim this summer through a programme organised by the National Conservation Commission (NCC).

Operation SOS, targeting people from ages ten to 65, will be conducted at Browne’s Beach, St Michael, over a six-week period beginning July 16.

NCC general manager Keith Neblett announced the Commission’s Lifeguard Service would be facilitating the programme.

It is designed to acquaint participants with the experience of ocean swimming and its hazards. On completion, they should be able to swim, and identify and understand some of the threats that might be encountered in the aquatic environment.

Speaking after receiving over $2 000 in sea rescue equipment from the Royal Lifesaving Society of Canada (Ontario Branch) last week, Neblett noted many Barbadians ran the risk of drowning because of their inability to swim. It was one of the reasons he said the NCC had continued to focus on the training of lifeguards. 

Minutes after he accepted a spine board, a torpedo buoy and rescue tool from the Canadian group, Neblett  said because Barbados was surrounded by water, it was important lifeguards were adequately trained to save people from drowning.

He commended lifeguard Terrence Hinds, who was responsible for Barbados receiving the gift from the Canadians, for his heroic rescue of two Canadians and one British visitor battling heavy surf and strong rip currents at Folkstone Marine Park last July.

Visitor Frederick McElman, who witnessed the rescue, had written to the Ontario Branch of the Royal Lifesaving Society of Canada describing the Barbadian lifeguard’s courage, suggesting it be acknowledged in a tangible way.

Canadian instructor and trainer with the Royal Lifesaving Society of  Canada, Patrick D’Almada, is in Barbados conducting training for six NCC lifeguards, and one each from the Barbados Defence Force and  the National Sports Council. He thanked Neblett and Barbadian lifeguard trainer Davidson Bascombe for continuing to develop the lifeguard programme, while also commending Hinds.

“We believe that lifeguards at beaches do make a difference in reducing drowning at beaches,” D’Almada said. (GC)