Lifeguarding

In countries like Bangladesh, where a growing middle class are boosting domestic tourism, the need for beach lifeguard services is increasing.
RNLI trained lifeguard patrolling Coxs Bazaar beach in Bangladesh

Photo: Mike Lavis

RNLI trained lifeguard patrolling Coxs Bazaar beach in Bangladesh.

For local children, who use the beach as a place to meet and play, watchful lifeguards and water safety education can protect them before they even get into danger.

The lifeguarding intervention helps teams with every aspect of putting a patrol in place, including beach profiling, rescue equipment, recruitment and fundraising.

It’s been developed over several years, tested and refined with growing lifeguard services in Bangladesh, The Gambia, Kenya, Philippines and Senegal. As more decision-makers see that a professional lifeguard service can protect communities and boost tourist economies alike, we hope that more areas can benefit from the resources we’ve developed.

Lifeguards training in a pool in Bangladesh

Photo: RNLI/Mike Lavis

Two lifeguards practice recovering a casualty in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.

We’ve been working with SeaSafe, a CIPRB initiative in Bangladesh, since 2012 to build a lifeguarding and community safety service for Cox’s Bazar.

In 6 years, SeaSafe has grown from part-time voluntary patrols to full-time lifeguard patrols on 3 beaches, school education visits and SwimSafe lessons to teach children swim survival skills.

One lifeguard who’s seen this evolution is Selim, who started out as a 9-year-old helping to carry the rescue tubes for training sessions, while his older sister Nasima trained to become a lifeguard. At the end of the training week, lifeguards were amazed when he recited word-for word everything he’d watch them learn. Six years on and Selim is one of the part-time volunteers who watch over the beachgoers at Cox’s Bazar.

 
Lifeguard Selim aged 9 and aged 15 on the beach at Cox’s Bazaar

Photo: RNLI/Mike Lavis and Harrison Bates

Selim helping with training in 2012 (left) and patrolling as a volunteer lifeguard in 2016.

Since SeaSafe began, no-one has drowned in the patrolled areas when lifeguards have been on duty. The team have saved 215 people from drowning. Learn more about this incredible lifesaving community in our Bangladesh section.

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