RNLI lifeguard Chris Rigby has returned to Pembrokeshire from a life-changing trip to the Philippines.
Chris was one of two lifeguard trainers from the RNLI to travel to the Camotes Islands last month to deliver a lifesaving tuition course, aiming to help save hundreds of people from drowning there each year.
Over 17 days, Chris and RNLI lifeguard manager Barry Heathfield trained 26 lifeguards before choosing ten lifeguards from the group to continue on an additional three-day ‘train the trainer’ course to teach them how to pass on their skills to others.
Chris, an RNLI lifeguard supervisor on Pembrokeshire beaches, said: “The aim of this course is all about sustainability; the instructors will travel back to their local communities where they can start training others, raise awareness and hopefully save lives. The course was intense for the candidates but their drive, dedication and commitment is strong.
“With the Philippines being extremely prone to natural disasters, our candidates could be called to put their lifesaving skills to the test at any time. It was great to see how far they had come in a short amount of time, and to think that these inspiring people are now teaching others is an amazing feeling for us as trainers.”
The course, which has been specially designed by the RNLI, covered the essentials of lifeguarding, including recognising when a person is in distress; how to use rescue equipment; beach surveillance; risk assessments and rescuing and treating casualties.
Chris added: “It was an honour to be chosen to represent the RNLI and travel to the Philippines with Barry to deliver the course. Seeing the group’s eagerness to learn and how much they had developed their skills in such a short space of time was amazing. It was both a humbling and inspirational trip being on the frontline of tackling the global drowning epidemic.”