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RNLI lifeguards help save lives in Senegal

About the author

Image of Laura Fennimore

Laura Fennimore
Public Relations Officer at Poole.

Start quoteDuring 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.End quote

Lifeguards News Release

  • Date:
  • Author: Laura Fennimore

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.

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Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland