The Chief Executive Officer of Surf Live Saving Tasmania, Tony van den Enden, and his team are on a mission.
“With our program, we will try to improve water safety in Samoa,” he said.
Along with his colleagues Greg Bird and local lifeguard, Ben Tafem, they are looking to train local people, giving them lifeguarding skills. Their programme is not new to Samoa.
“We’ve had a number of lifeguards to come over in the last four years since 2009, volunteering up to ten months here in Samoa and we hope to continue this part of our program in the near future.
“The main goal of this program was and still is to maintain international lifesaving standards in the country.”
Since then, the programme has steadily evolved, according to lifeguard van den Enden.
“We also teach the local community in villages and schools on how to stay safe in and around the water.”
But their duty does not only include the beach areas in Samoa.
“It is important for us to show the people how to make use of health skills in any imaginable situation, for instance if there has been a road accident or the like.”
In the near future, the lifeguards from Tasmania might even obtain air support for their program.
“We just stopped by at Samoa Helicopters and met Rodger McCutcheon of Samoa Helicopters for the first time. With his rescue service, entirely new opportunities could open up for us,” Mr van den Enden said.
“With the introduction of Samoa Helicopters’ capacity here, there might also be the chance to open a rescue base right here where the helicopter is located, along with substations around the island”.
Ben Tafem, of Samoa Surf Live Saving absolutely appreciates the potential given by a potential cooperation between the lifeguards and Samoa Helicopters.
“From a local perspective, it would be a great way to guarantee safety for the people of Samoa, because the helicopter could certainly work as a game changer regarding natural disasters in the area.”