~ by Nate Bright
Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguards
In 2016, the Guardavidas Costa Ballena Lifeguards recorded nearly 30 rescues on the three beaches we protect - Playa Dominical, Playa Hermosa and Playa Ventanas. These are the only beaches in the entire southern zone of Costa Rica with lifeguards, and the program is completely community driven.
As of December 2017, we have eleven lifeguards who have graduated from the certification course offered by the Coast Guard of Costa Rica. Congratulations guys, including one lady! It was an intensive 2 week training including CPR and emergency care as well as open water and multi-person rescue. This means that our coast line is safer than ever! The Costa Ballena region is famous for its beautiful shores that are ideal for surfing, swimming and kayaking. Knowing what to look for and what to do if you get into a dangerous situation can mean the difference between a great day playing in the waves, and tragedy.
The most dangerous thing you may encounter at the beach is a rip current. This is a strong, narrow current of water that cuts through the line of breaking waves, moving directly away from the shore. Because it is strongest near the surface of the water, even experienced swimmers and surfers can get caught. In a matter of moments, they find themselves hundreds of yards from the shore.
What to do if you are in trouble
1. Don’t panic! Stay calm, and orient yourself to the locations of the beach and the lifeguard stand.
2. Swim parallel to the shore, NOT towards it.
3. You can signal the lifeguards that you need assistance by waving one arm in the air.
4. When the lifeguard arrives, allow them to take charge. They have been trained for this exact situation, and know how to get you both back safely to shore.
Thanks again to our amazing community for helping our lifeguard program grow and thrive -
you are literally life savers