On Friday August 21 nine teams graced the pool deck at Guildford Recreation Centre in Surrey, BC for the opening ceremonies of the 79th Annual Barnsley Branch Lifeguard Championship.
For two days, competitors participated in a series of events which tested the physical, first aid and leadership skills they have been honing since taking their first Lifesaving courses, Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross.
Congratulations to Saucy Savages who took home the coveted Barnsley Shield and the title of 2015 Barnsley Lifeguard Champions!
We would like to extend a huge thank you to the team at Guildford Recreation Centre as well as all of the amazing sponsors, judges, officials and volunteers for helping to make Barnsley 2015 one to remember.
Now that the competition season has come to a close, we would like to hear from you! When you have a moment, please fill out the feedback form below. It contains 5 brief questions which will help us continue to grow and improve competition as we approach the 80th Annual Barnsley Lifeguard Championship in 2016.
I am writing to you today in the hope that other fishermen will follow my example and survive an unexpected fall into the water. I was fishing last Sunday when a rogue wave washed me into the sea. I spent the next 55 minutes fighting for my life. Fortunately my 16 year old daughter was with me and immediately called the coast guard.
Upon entering the water my lifejacket automatically inflated and kept me on the surface, but I was quickly swept further from shore by the current. The sea appeared fairly calm from the shore but once in it, the 3 to 4 foot swells showed its darker side.
Even though I kept my back to the wind I spent 30 minutes or so fighting to get air into my lungs whilst spitting the sea water out of my mouth as the waves broke over my head and the water ran down my face. Much to my relief the current then pushed me back towards the land and into calmer waters, but by then my state of exhaustion and oncoming hypothermia prevented me from reaching shore.
My daughter (the hero of the day) shouted to me that the coast guard was on the way and for the first time my spirits rose. I noticed the buoy of a lobster pot ahead of me and managed to drift toward it, hanging on for dear life.
After 10 or so more minutes a rescue boat (my other heroes) sped into the sound to pull me aboard. I was brought to shore with a life threatening low temperature and handed over to the land-based unit of the coast guard and the ambulance team. From there I was brought by helicopter to hospital for further assessments and treatment.
My main message is --- I wasn't lucky, I was prepared but not nearly as much as I needed to be. A splash hood on my lifejacket would have saved me from an experience somewhat akin to water boarding; a personal locator beacon (PLB) would have brought the coast guard directly to me should I have continued out to sea and initiated a distress call should I have been fishing on my own, which I often do.
The lifejacket saved my life; the prearranged plan with my daughter (should one of us fall in) saved my life; the mobile phone saved my life; the emergency services saved my life. And if through telling others of my harrowing experience, on a 'calm' sea, I can get other fishermen to wear a lifejacket then it is an experience worth having but definitely not worth repeating!
Sincerely, Colm Plunkett
Although this story comes from Cork in Ireland, it could happen anywhere; another testimonial to the benefit of wearing a lifejacket and making a plan in case things go wrong. The fortunate fisherman also happens to the brother-in-law of Stephanie from our Branch office!
FAST Program Giving Students Essential Lifesaving Skills
The FAST Program (First Aid Swim Training) is a young lifeguard education program run through the West Vancouver School District program offered exclusively out of the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre.
This program allows students to develop the essential skills to be successful and confident lifeguards during the course of their regular school day. This program consists of aquatic components, physical training, and classroom sessions. As part of the program, students also have facility passes to the West Van Aquatic Centre and gym, which allows them to train on their own outside of classroom time.
At the completion of the FAST Program students have obtained all of the required certification prerequisites necessary to enroll in the National Lifeguard course as well as a practical foundation in resistance and cardiovascular training, swimming, stroke development and leadership.
During the course of the school year, students obtain certification in Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, CPR-C, and Standard First Aid.
Students earn 10 credits:
4 credits for Physical Education
4 credits for Emergency Response Leadership 11
2 external credits upon the completion of Bronze Cross
The FAST Program was developed by Dave Dickinson (pictured above with his students), a teacher from the West Vancouver School District and a Lifesaving Society First Aid Instructor and Lifesaving Instructor. We spoke to him recently about this innovative program.
What initiatied the development of the FAST Program?
The West Vancouver School District has been really supportive of teachers developing programs of choice for students in our school district that focus on an area of passion shared by both the educator and the student.
I grew up in Lions Bay, a seaside community where swimming was always a part of my life. I learned to swim at the beach in Lions Bay and the backyard pool program. When I was old enough I taught the program (and did so for 10 years). During this time I also began offering Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross courses at Lions Bay Beach. I found these courses to be incredibly fun and exciting, as did my students. When I became a teacher and observed the sports academy model in my district providing students the ability to focus on an area of passion such as soccer, tennis or hockey within class time it was obvious to me that there would be interest from students wanting to hone their swimming and fitness and learn a tangible skillset.
What skills do you think students gain from the FAST program that they wouldn’t from other high school courses?
The FAST program provides a strong foundation for learning by providing an environment that synthesizes all course work together. This program is unique to many courses offered in high school as the learning is heavily experiential (the student learns by doing, rather than watching and memorizing) and that learning is primarily demonstrated through performance rather than written output. I think this course stands out because students can clearly see the practicality of what they are learning. At no time during the past year was I asked, “When am I going to use this?" or "Why are we doing this?” they could already see it. A large number of students in the previous cohort are now moving on to work as lifeguards.
Why do you think Lifesaving Society courses are valuable for teenagers?
The Lifesaving Society courses provide students the opportunity to learn tangible leadership skills through the lens of aquatic rescue and emergency scene management.
It was amazing to watch the growth of my own students over the past year as their maturity, confidence, public speaking, and leadership during challenging situations all developed. The Lifesaving Society has always done a great job of designing programs that are fun, engaging and useful and then providing the support both in resources and people to make sure students are successful.
What do you enjoy most about teaching this program?
The ability to work with students as they begin their journey into the world of lifesaving and knowing that when they exit the FAST Program they will have a rock solid foundation upon which to build further skills.
Working in partnership with the West Vancouver Aquatic Center has been fantastic. Melissa Goddard the Aquatic Program Coordinator at the WVAC has been incredibly helpful by providing advice and assistance to strengthen the program. Similarly, sharing the teaching responsibilities with Karley Mathieson has ensured students benefit from a diversity of instructional styles.
This community partnership enables the FAST Program to serve both the school district’s and the aquatic center’s needs. The school district is able to provide innovative programming that student’s desire and the WVAC benefits from developing lifesaving candidates who will one day be employees and knowledgeable, supportive members of the community.
Is there an exciting lifesaving program or initiative happening at your facility or community? If so, we would love to feature it in an upcoming edition of the Lifeliner. Contact Krystyna at email@example.com for more information.
October 21 to 23, 2015 at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, North Vancouver
Ripple Effects comes only once every two years so don't miss this informative workshop for aquatics professionals!
Focusing on best practices, staff development, maintenance and operations for aquatic facilities, this year's program includes 2 pre-workshop clinics.
If you have not yet recertified your First Aid Instructor or National Lifeguard Instructor this is the perfect opportunity. We are currently halfway through the recert cycle and finding courses into 2017 may become more difficult.
Lifesaving First Aid Instructor Recertification Clinic
9 am — 5 pm
Harry Jerome Recreation Centre
123 E. 23rd Street, North Vancouver, BC
Participants are required to bring:
a pocket mask
First Aid Award Guide and
proof of certification
National Lifeguard Instructor Recertification Clinic
Where has the time gone!? August was a busy month and the WaterWise Team has now finished their last few weeks of the season with summer camp visits and community events.
Earlier in August the Team traveled to Nanaimo for the weekend for the Nanaimo Marine Festival. There they were able to speak to a number of people who were interested in beginning their boating adventures as well as experienced boaters.
The Team continued to visit summer camps, with weekly visits to both UBC and SFU. The children were energetic and receptive to the messages as a number of them would be swimming or canoeing with their camp groups.
August also brought with it a couple of media interviews with CBC and CBC radio. Sienna stepped up to the plate, refreshed her knowledge from French Immersion in high school and gave interviews in both English and French!
The Team is now preparing for next year, leaving instructions for the new Team and purchasing new supplies. Sienna hopes to return for another season but Maddy is sad that she will not be able to return due to her school program running through the summer months. She hopes to help out the next Team whenever needed.
The Team would like to thank everyone at the Lifesaving Society office in Burnaby for all of their help and support throughout the season! They couldn’t have done it without you!