Costa Rica

ISLA is excited to announce Domincal beach in Costa Rica as a new project of ISLA. Recently ISLA donated necessary clothing and equipment to the Dominical Lifeguards and are working with the Domincal lifeguards on several training and volunteer trips for later this year. More information on these trips will be live in the next week.


Dates: Specific Dates To Be Determined by Applicants


Playa Dominical, Project Description:

The ISLA team will assist the Dominical Lifeguards through the New Years Holiday season. Playa Dominical is one of the most dangerous beaches in Central America and was previously known as “Playa de Muerte” (Death Beach) due to the high drowning rate. The Dominical Lifeguards deal with 8-10 foot surf and rip currants that pull 300-400 meters of shore on a consistent basis.

Applicants should have more than three years experience working in large surf areas.4-5 spots available. Spanish not required.


Dominical Application is not available at this time. Please email William Koon: for information.


New Zealand

Over the past forty years, the California Surf Lifesaving Association (CSLSA) has run an exchange program between Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and California Lifeguards. It started back in 1969 and has a rich tradition of exchanging professional and volunteer lifesaving techniques and equipment.

ISLA’s Manager of National Relations, Morgan McGowan, and Manager of Training & Education, Jesse Heydorff, have been past participants of this educational exchange. Both McGowan and Heydorff have shared vital information with ISLA which they learned through this valuable lifeguard exchange. We at ISLA would like to thank the CSLSA for their continued support of lifesaving and keeping this exchange running.



While on his lifesaving voyage around the world, Morgan McGowan, Manager of National Relations toured the north-east coast of Australia. Starting in Brisbane he toured the Gold Coast before heading north along the Sunshine Coast. Along the way he stopped at several surf clubs including Caloundra, Coolum Beach, Noosa Heads, Mooloolaba, and all the way up to Cairns. This was a very informal exchange where he managed to secure numerous contacts for future collaborative efforts, exchange stories with fellow lifesavers, and have a good time. While in Australia, Morgan managed to dive the Great Barrier Reef which along with lifesaving, ocean conservation and ecology is a true passion of his as a Marine Biologist.



In the Summer of 2011, Japanese lifesaving official Taishi Otono met with ISLA staff members to gather information on lifeguarding in the United States and Central American. Tashi will utilize the knowledge he learned to create a Jr. lifeguarding Program in Okinawa. With the help of ISLA Japanese Ambassador Reuben Rodriguez, ISLA plans to conduct a Project in Japan in coordination with Taishi.



In December of 2011, a representative of Brazil’s lifeguarding association Marcelo Balvoa contacted ISLA requesting lifeguarding information ISLA has gathered in Central America. Members of the lifeguarding association of Brazil are currently involved in planning the ISLA Project.



ISLA President Henry Reyes and Manger of Disaster Response Michael Hudson led Project Ecuador’s “Team Playas”, a group of seven lifeguards from the United States. Team Playas was responsible for guarding over two miles of ocean. During the 4 day Carnival celebration the team worked with local professional Playas lifeguards.



Check out Macedonian Rescuer’s Facebook Page.


Starting in the beginning of 2012, Angel Ponovski of the newly founded Water and Mountain Rescue Organization begin talks with ISLA about assisting with a volunteer exchange program for regions in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. ISLA is beginning to organize a game plan for future projects in the Balkans including assisting with providing resources for Macedonia’s newly founded Rescue Organization. Plans of an exchange and training course are being planned for May 2013.



Click to view the Nicaragua Project Page.


Nicaragua is the home of ISLA’s Central American operations.

Since 2009 ISLA has been sending a growing team to help with the massive amounts of crowds that attend the beaches during the Nation’s holiday week of Semana Santa. Our efforts have gone to decrease the nation’s average drowning rate by 75% during the weeklong festivities. We hope to continue this effort until there are zero drownings in the country of Nicaragua.

Past ISLA operations in Nicaragua have included guarding the beaches of San Juan Del Sur (the countries most popular resort destination) El Transito, Mira Mar, Jiquilio, Paso Cabillo, and the Lago de San Jorge (a local, prehistoric volcanic lake).

Over Semana Santa 2012, ISLA is sending a team back to Nicaragua to assist the Red Cross’s rescue efforts during the holiday season. ISLA will also conduct our first basic open water lifeguard course in the country.


Dominican Republic

Click to view the Project Dominican Republic page!


The Dominican Republic has a unique aquatic safety situation in that it is part of an island, yet has a very small water culture where many people do not know how to swim nor have sufficient oceanic knowledge to navigate the natural dangers that plague the countries pristine coastline.  In an effort to educate and promote aquatic safety, ISLA ran a crash course program in 2011 that taught locals about common open water risks, basic aquatic rescue techniques, basic first aid, and CPR.  Since that first project, ISLA has conducted numerous others and will continue working with Dominicans toward the ultimate goal of complete sustainability of ocean lifeguard programs to reduce death by drowning in the country.



Click to view the Project Mexico page!

Since 2008, ISLA Directors and volunteers have been traveling to the small community of Chapultepec, Baja California to meet fellow Mexican lifeguards and share valuable lifesaving information. This exchange of knowledge and friendship is one of the core fundamentals of the International Surf lifesaving Association.

Recently ISLA lifeguards joined the official IBLA exchange with the Tijuana Lifeguards and have 4 trips planned to Tijuana, Rosarito, Cerritos/Todos Santos and Tulum/Cancun for the 2012 – 2013 year!



In November of 2011, a small team of ISLA volunteers traveled to Panama City, Panama to meet with officials from the countries Civil Defense; Panama’s nationally recognized lifeguarding agency.

ISLA is in contact with Julio Molina from the Panamanian Civil Defense, and a Project is currently being developed.



In August of 2011, ISLA Public Relations Manger Raquel Lizarraga traveled to the beaches Donesta, San Sebastian to gather intelligence of lifeguarding operations in Spain. Shortly after her reconnaissance, lifeguards from the Canary Islands contacted ISLA.

ISLA is currently in contact with Beach Inspectors/Head Lifeguards of the Canary Islands and will be working on future projects.



The Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service (NSLS) is another organization that is dedicated to professional lifeguard development outside their own countries borders, specifically in the Dominican Republic. The NSLS has conducted various training projects in the Dominican Republic, and has worked towards many similar goals as ISLA. We look forward to working with the NSLS in the future to help develop Dominican Lifesaving efforts and further promote ocean safety in the Dominican Republic. For more info about the the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service visit:



ISLA has partnered with Claudio Pradenas Abarca and la Escuela de Guardavidas SEAL, a private lifesaving agency founded by Claudio that now provides services up and down the Chilean coast. Claudio is an all around waterman and his team’s expertise goes far beyond basic open water rescue, encompassing swift water, advanced dive rescue, and almost any other water related rescue imaginable. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Guardavidas SEAL and are especially excited to incorporate their expertise and Spanish language skills in our upcoming trips. ISLA is also looking into the possibility of organizing exchange programs to Chile.


United States of America

The United States of America has played an important role in the growth of the International Surf Lifesaving Association. From its birth in California in 2008, to the finish line of our first nationwide fundraiser, the U.S. has played a central role in ISLA’s operations.

The Majority of ISLA volunteers are professionals in the emergency medical response industry and are represented by agencies throughout the entire country. Our projects have included representatives from the following agencies:

California State Lifeguards
Long Beach City Lifeguards
Los Angeles City Lifeguards
Los Angeles County Lifeguards
Huntington City Beach Lifeguards
Newport Beach Lifeguards
Corolla Ocean Rescue
San Diego City Lifeguards

ISLA’s headquarters is strategically located in Huntington Beach, CA. “Surf City” has become a central place for our organizations planning and operations. We conduct training seminars, fundraisers, and prepare ourselves to service our community, and beaches in an effort to save lives.


ISLA Lifeguards

On-Going Projects

Isla's Budget

Volunteer Base