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Hard work and dedication pays off for lifeguard trainees

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Great news both for the candidates, the Mangawhai beach scene and water safety in general as the Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Life Saving Club recently qualified a new batch of lifeguards which, this year included a group of six adults and several junior parents with a view to assisting in future junior programmes.

Principally under the tutelage of chief instructor Jess Costello, and ably assisted by Brad Kehoe, the group have been training since November in a rigorous 12 week programme covering the disciplines necessary for certificate attainment.

Beginning in the pool with instructor-coach Tony Baker, candidates must swim 400m in under nine minutes. Other facets included CPR, first aid, radios, signals, a theory exam which entailed questions around surf and beach conditions and lifeguarding systems.

The ‘run-swim-run’ and tube rescue exercises were most important in putting their knowledge to the test under real life conditions. 

“It takes commitment and dedication, and is really hard to do in our area without a local pool,” says Jess Costello. “The closest public pool is Whangarei and we had also been kindly donated a Rodney College key over the summer holidays. They have all been studying hard, coming to trainings each weekend and attending different pools to practice their swimming.”

The pool swim component was held at Mahurangi College pool in late January. Failure to pass meant entrants could not go on to attend the beach exam held at Mangawhai on February 4 in a 1.5m onshore swell which proved challenging conditions for many but making their success all the more satisfying. 

Waipu and Orewa clubs were also in attendance. 

Patrolling at Mangawhai will continue each weekend up until Easter and new recruits have been invited to attend and continue to learn more about lifeguarding. 

Instructor Jess Costello (far left) stands proudly with the latest group of recently-qualified Mangawhai lifeguards.
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