Lifesaving awards are a great way for children and adults to learn water safety techniques and first aid, says David Ebbs
Our club, Ipswich Life Saving Club (ILSC), is for all ages. Our purpose is to teach the local community the techniques of water safety, aquatic rescue, first aid and CPR. All trainers give their time for free, to keep membership costs to a minimum.
We take children from age 10, but also have active club members who are 70+. Primarily the club is made up of youngsters aged 10 to 17.
The awards we teach are all RLSS UK (Royal Life Saving Society). The U12s take Rookie awards, which are several small modules, going through bronze, silver and gold. One module is ‘Open Water’. Once through the Rookie awards, it becomes ‘Survive & Save’, which again has bronze, silver and gold awards, each containing progressively harder Open Water Beach and Still Water awards. Still Water awards are taken at TriFarm lake in Essex. All these awards are the ideal grounding for people wanting to undertake the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) and Open Water Lifeguard (OWL). ILSC provides the majority of Open Water Lifeguards for the Great East Swim, from our members and trainers.
Theory and practical training
We meet every term-time Friday at Fore Street Pool, Ipswich from 7pm. These lessons include both classroom theory sessions and pool training. Open water sessions take place from May to September at Felixstowe beach. These are on various evenings and weekends, depending upon trainer availability. The May and June sessions are aimed at people taking part in the Great East Swim, getting them used to the water temperature, etc. Thereafter club members are training towards open water awards. Most beach sessions end with a delivery of pizza or fish and chips, along with home-baked cakes by the members.
The club also takes part in pool and beach lifesaving competitions throughout the year, with several club members having won the UK National Life Saving Championships in the pool.
Learn water safety and first aid
Current open water swimmers could join the club to undertake some of the awards and have a better understanding of water safety, self survival, aquatic rescue and first aid/CPR. During open water sessions at the beach we always have qualified open water lifeguards in the water, plus those on the beach. All in the water must wear a brightly coloured hat, and we issue torpedo buoys for people to swim with. This means that they have something to hold if feeling tired, plus we can tow them back in if necessary. Having lifeguards swimming in the water with the youngsters is so important as they can constantly monitor them, talk to and encourage them and keep the group together. Some youngsters have, before going in the sea with us, never swum in open water in the UK, maybe just when on holiday in Spain or Greece. I have had to really encourage some to come in with me, holding their hand as we walk in through the waves, and then keeping right beside them as we swim. Some of these have ended up swimming the Great East Swim, qualified as lifeguards and love open water swimming.
Gives your child the skills they need to be confident in the pool or the sea – while also giving you peace of mind. The scheme teaches children how to swim and enjoy water safely, whether in shallow or deeper water.
Survive & Save
The Survive & Save Programme is the lifesaving awards programme for teens and adults (12years+). The awards teach lifesaving rescue, self-rescue, survival, lifesaving sport skills and also develop swimming ability and fitness.
Open Water Lifeguard
The Open Water Lifeguard qualification enables candidates with no previous lifeguard experience to become qualified to provide supervision and rescue cover for planned, organised and risk-assessed activities in open water (still, non-tidal). More info: http://bit.ly/2iJRdBw
Get in touch with ILSC on Twitter @ipswichLSC