On September 27, 2018, The Water Safety and Rescue Training or WASAR spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (Region 7) concluded with a splash!

A culmination program was held at Salagdoong Beach Resort, Siquijor to celebrate the certification of the new lifeguards who will make Isla Del Fuego more equipped to handle sea and pool-related emergencies.

WASAR trainees in Siquijor
The WASAR trainees absorbing the skills and lessons taught to them by the lifeguard instructors.

Conditioning and Training

WASAR was done in partnership with the Philippine Coastguard and the Philippine Red Cross. There were 34 hotel staff coming from various accommodations around the island who participated.

They underwent the training for 8 days and learned crucial skills, such as first aid, basic life support, lifeguarding, survival techniques, water rescue procedures, rescue boat handling, and more. The training also included activities that boosted the trainees’ swimming skills and stamina.

Commodore Heinz teaching water rescue techniques.
Commodore Heinz demonstrating proper water rescue techniques.

According to the main instructor, Commodore Heinz of the Philippine Coastguard Auxiliary, the trainees’ stamina needed improvement on the first few days. But towards the end of the training, they have greatly improved and the participants really showed dedication to learning water safety and rescue skills.

The trainees were thankful that this program was held in Siquijor. Vanessa and Marvin, two of the participants, expressed that they wanted to level up their skills and be of more help to everyone who will soon be visiting the Mystic Island.

Lifeguard instructors demonstrating rescue skills to the trainees.
The lifeguard instructors demonstrating important skills.

Water Safety and Training – Practical Exam

After the lectures and demonstrations, the trainees were then evaluated by the lifeguard instructors from the Coast Guard.

They underwent several practical exams, which included swimming for 800 meters and demonstrating what they’ve learned through a mock rescue operation in the ocean. The instructors acted as victims and the participants had to rescue them using the skills they’ve learned.

Mock rescue for the WASAR participants' final exam.
The participants during their water practical exam. They did a mock rescue.

The weather during the practical exam was quite windy and so the sea was a bit rough. But the trainees shouldered on and showed off what they learned. They bravely went into the water and conquered the practical and mock rescue exam.

All the while, the instructors evaluated if the trainees followed the right rescue steps and then graded their overall performance. The final exam was composed of recovering two victims.

The trainees also underwent a written exam to gauge their understanding of everything that was discussed.

checking written exam results
Checking the results of their written exams.

WASAR Culmination Program

When all the lessons and exams finished, the lifeguard instructors carefully deliberated the results. At the end of the training, there are three certifications available – ocean and pool lifeguard certificate, pool lifeguard certificate, and WASAR certificate.

The participants were awarded their certificates at the culmination program. Those with ocean and pool certificates are considered fully certified lifeguards and can be trusted to help out at sea (e.g. during island hopping) or at resorts (e.g. when there is a pool emergency).

Culmination program panel of speakers
Words of wisdom from the Phillippine Coast Guard and the DOT during the culmination program.

Meanwhile, those who obtained a pool lifeguard certificate still needs to undergo more training to upgrade to a full certification. As for those who received the WASAR certificate, they need to redo the training to achieve full certification.

Fortunately, most of the participants obtained full ocean and pool lifeguarding certification. Big congratulations to all of you!

The WASAR program was successful
The program was a success!

Officers from the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Coast Guard also gave speeches to congratulate the participants. The program ended with a delicious banquet for all and big smiles from the newly certified lifeguards of Siquijor.

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