This past November, the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) sent a team of professional lifeguards to the Dominican Republic (DR) as part of an initiative to minimize deaths and injuries caused by drowning. As part of the three stage initiative, ISLA conducted two Basic Open Water Lifeguard Training Courses in the Dominican Republic.
The three stage initiative in the DR is a collaboration between ISLA and the Laurel Eastman Kite School in Cabarete, Diego Geribaldi and Viva Wyndham Tangerine in Cabarete, Lee Alter and the International Law Enforcement Association in Cabarete, and the La Romana-Bayahibe Hotel Association. The ISLA lifeguards teamed up with three Dominican lifeguards from previous ISLA projects to teach the courses. The ISLA instructor staff was comprised of Lifeguards Henry Reyes (Huntington City Beach), Dean Fernandez (Santa Cruz State Beach), Taylor McGowan (Los Angeles City Beach- Cabrillo), Joe Reed (Crystal Cove State Park), Jeff Hart (Los Angeles County), William Koon (Huntington State Beach), Joe Perez (ISLA Dominican Ambassador), Marcel Mera (ISLA Lifeguard), and Pedro Polanco (ISLA and Viva Wyndham Lifeguard).
The first lifeguard training course took place in Cabarete, Puerto Plata on the North Coast, and the second course took place in La Romana-Bayahibe on the South East Coast. The two courses
included a total of forty-seven participants from local surf and kite schools, various Hotels and
Resorts, the Dominican Civil Defense, the Dominican Red Cross, employees from the La Romana-Bayahibe Hotel Association and other local businesses.
The courses included classroom and practical instruction on Basic Oceanography and Marine Hazards, Lifeguard Systems and Operation, Rescue Recognition and Realization, Basic Beach-Related First Aid, and Communication/Job Skills. In addition, the course participants were set to perform physical events that tested their running and ocean swimming capability.
A huge thanks to Alegria Hotel in Cabarete, Gordito’s Fresh Mex in Cabarete, Kitebeach Hotel in Cabarete, Viva Wyndham Gran Dominicus in La Romana, Dreams Resort in La Romana, and Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus in La Romana for donating accommodation and meals to the ISLA instructor team. The Quiksilver Foundation supplied uniform and lifeguard equipment for the course, and the Boardworks Rescue Division lent the ISLA team a full size blow up rescue board to use utilize during the project.
Download the official 2012 Dominican Republic Project Report.
Learn more about ISLA’s involvement in the Dominican Republic.