RNLI lifeguards have today (3 December) started work to develop the first dedicated lifeguard service in Dakar, Senegal. They will deliver two weeks of training to equip Senegalese lifesavers with vital skills to help save more lives from drowning.
RNLI lifeguards Tim Doran, from Northern Ireland's Causeway Coast, and Vaughan Lawson, from Devon, have travelled to Yoff beach in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, West Africa, to spend two weeks delivering an intensive programme of lifeguard training.
During the two weeks, Tim and Vaughan will train up to 24 volunteer and full-time lifeguards and members of the fire service, who will undertake regular beach patrols, and six instructors as specialists, who will, in turn, teach lifesaving skills to others to help establish a long-term, sustainable lifesaving service.
The course will cover the important first steps of lifeguarding, including recognising when a person is in distress; how to use rescue equipment; beach surveillance; risk assessments, and rescuing and treating a casualty.
Two of the Senegalese lifeguards, Idrissa Ndiaye and Moustapha Diene, travelled to the UK in August 2012 to attend a bespoke lifesaving leadership course at the RNLI’s headquarters, where the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards train.
This current visit is the RNLI’s first to Senegal, following the training delivered to Idrissa and Moustapha in August. Tim and Vaughan will assess how the two have implemented what they learnt and help them further develop their skills, while also training other Senegalese lifeguards for the first time.
Steve Wills, the RNLI’s International Development Manager, says:
‘Drowning is, very sadly, a common occurrence in Senegal – earlier this year, nine boys drowned off the coast of Dakar. They had been playing in the water when a current took them. There were no lifeguards around to save them. During this visit to Senegal, we’re aiming to teach volunteers vital skills to help them set up, run and expand an effective lifesaving service and, ultimately, save more lives from drowning.
‘This is part of the RNLI’s broader international development work, helping to tackle the global drowning epidemic. We’re focusing on helping others, like the Senegalese lifeguards, to help themselves – ensuring they can establish and sustain their own lifesaving service, to grow organically and go on to save lives using their own people and skills.
‘The amount of training two experienced RNLI lifeguards can deliver in two weeks will make a huge difference and will help put an end to tragedies like nine children losing their lives at sea.’
The RNLI has been stepping-up its international development work since 2011, to help developing search and rescue-related organisations and reduce the estimated 1.2M drownings that occur around the world each year. The charity is focusing on helping other organisations to help themselves by providing a range of services such as training, supply of equipment, safety education, and guidance on search and rescue frameworks and flood resilience.
RNLI lifeguard and lifeboat trainers have recently returned from Bangladesh, where they provided vital lifesaving training to 60 lifeguards, delivered search and rescue training to 58 Coast Guards and helped establish a new coastal safety education programme for schools.
The charity’s international development activity has also included work with countries such as Cameroon, Uganda, India, Philippines, Mauritius, the British Virgin Islands and Thailand.
The RNLI is also exploring a collaboration with international children’s charity Plan International to develop a pan-African swim-safe programme for children, teaching ocean and flood survival skills, beginning in 2013.
Notes to Editors
• A photo is attached showing Senegalese lifesavers Idrissa Ndiaye and Moustapha Diene during their UK-based training with the RNLI in August. Please credit RNLI/Nathan Williams.
• The RNLI’s international development work is self-funding. The work is funded primarily through overseas sales of consultancy, equipment and training to countries that require those services; and external / government funding where available. In time, the RNLI will begin to fundraise for specific international projects.
• RNLI spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the numbers below to request an interview.
• Video footage of the training will be available after the visit. Please contact RNLI Public Relations on the numbers below to request copies.
RNLI media contacts
For more information, contact Laura Fennimore, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 663181 / Laura_Fennimore@rnli.org.uk.