Local lifesaving knowledge and expertise has been shared with Japanese lifesavers as part of an exchange program between Japan Lifesaving Association and Surf Life Saving Australia.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Academy Manager and Pacific SLSC member Ken Clark recently participated in the 15-day lifesaving exchange, patrolling Onjuku Beach in the Chiba area of Japan.
“The aim of the program is to enhance local safety management and prevention of drownings on Japanese beaches through an exchange which involves patrols, water safety advice and education,” Mr Clark said.
“The 30 lifesavers at Onjuku Beach are all university students from Tokyo who train during the winter months and then spend the seven-week summer break patrolling the beach.
“The board and swimming skills of the lifesavers was fairly equal to what we have here in Australia, but due to legislative restrictions they have no training in first aid beyond the application of a band-aid.”
Three other Australian lifesavers from New South Wales and Western Australia participated in the Japan-Australia Lifesaver Exchange Program in Onjuku, alongside Mr Clark.
Each member of the group clocked up in excess of 100 hours on patrol and delivered educational programs for lifesavers and local school groups.
“We trained students in water safety and basic skills such as dolphin diving. Culturally, this was an amazing opportunity. The work systems, dedication and respect of all the lifesavers towards the Australians and to each other, was nothing but exceptional,” Mr Clark said.
“The local lifesavers were very excited to learn and practice new skills. I am extremely grateful to have participated, and for the opportunity to share knowledge with Onjuku lifesavers and lifeguards.”