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Now safer than ever to go back in the water

KEEPING the beaches safe over summer will be easier after 33 surf life savers went back to Lifeguard school yesterday.

Coming from beaches and clubs stretching from Macksville to the Gold Coast the prospective guards were specially selected to attend a function held at Camp Drewe, Lennox Head.

The school is the training program for those lifesavers who wish to be appointed as employed lifeguards over summer and was conducted by Australian Lifeguard Services, a division of Surf Life Saving New South Wales.

The program kicked off with an 800 metre pool swim and a physical and skills assessment in testing beach conditions.

Sessions for the remainder of this week include Beach Management and Public Safety, Advanced Emergency Care, Law Enforcement, Incident Control, Media Management, and dealing with hazardous materials.

Speakers from councils and emergency services are delivering sessions on the Local Government Act, ambulance protocols and public relations.

“The lifeguards are being put through their paces by our special training team,” co-ordinator Stephen Leahy said.

“Some of the younger guys felt the pressure of the surf conditions yesterday and we will continue to test their skills and their decision-making ability over the next couple of days.”

While the School give the students the skills to work on the beach, senior lifeguards are assessing the candidates on their suitability to be appointed as employed Lifeguards.

“We are assessing the students' aptitude, personality, how they handle stressful situations and how they communicate with others,” Leahy added.

“Not only do we want lifeguards to be skilled rescuers but they must have the people skills to deal with many different situations.

“We also expect lifeguards to be wonderful ambassadors for their Council and for surf life saving.”

Successful lifeguards will work on beaches throughout Northern NSW.

The school is the training program for those lifesavers who wish to be appointed as employed lifeguards over summer