Canada supports water safety in the Dominican Republic
Two participants demonstrating proper lifesaving techniques.
Participant practicing standard first aid.
Lifesaving instructors demonstrating proper spinal treatment.
Ambassador Steve Cóté and training participants showing off their new certificates.
The Dominican Republic is a popular destination for many Canadians looking to escape the cold during the winter. However, the beautiful beaches and warm water can also be a danger to tourists who may not have strong swimming skills.
Since 2010, dozens of Canadian volunteer instructors have travelled to the Dominican Republic to teach lifesaving skills to tourism employees and local participants. To date over 900 individuals have participated in the Life Saving Program – 200 more than our last Eyes Abroad feature in 2013 - demonstrating the need and interest in aquatic safety in the Dominican Republic. The Canadian Embassy in the Dominican Republic is happy to support this program, and recently completed another successful edition of Life Saving Program in Puerto Plata and Punta Cana.
Lifesaving as a way to collaborate
The free program for participants concentrates on teaching tourism industry employees and local authorities basic and advanced techniques in search and rescue and first aid. The program is led by volunteer instructors from the Royal Nova Scotia Lifesaving Society who donate their time annually to teach techniques in improving water safety in the Dominican Republic.
This program would not be possible without the support of the Canadian and Dominican based companies and of the many volunteers who work tirelessly in making this happen.
This program had great success in improving water safety for both tourists and the local population but also an opportunity to demonstrate the strong partnership between Canadians and Dominicans in working together for a good cause. It is needless to say the number of lives this program has impacted is incalculable.
Setting records to save lives
During this year’s training program, 139 local participants were trained on water lifesaving techniques. Of those participants, 23 achieved the professional lifeguard level - a record for the program!
At the Punta Cana closing ceremony, newly appointed Ambassador Steve Cóté stated “It is a joy to observe how the trainees improve their techniques and share experiences with the Canadian instructors. Personal contacts are forged, and lives are saved. That is the real achievement of this initiative”.
The Canadian Embassy in the Dominican Republic and its various partners look forward in continuing to work together to prepare for next year’s edition of the Life Saving Program to increase water safety in the country and to have a positive impact on local communities and tourist areas alike.
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