Lawrencetown Beach gets 3 international lifeguards for patrols
Lifeguards arrived a week before their June 28 start date to attend training camp
The Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service has hired three international lifeguards to help patrol Lawrencetown Beach, up from two international hires last year.
Two lifeguards from Australia and one from South Africa will use their experiences surfing and guarding busy beaches back home to patrol the increasingly busy Lawrencetown Beach — a popular spot for amateur surfers.
"There's obviously more hazards. Especially if people are learning to surf, there's more things to be aware of," said Jesse Outram, who works as a lifeguard in Gold Coast, Australia and is one of the hires for this summer.
"The ocean can change all the time with tides and swell so you kind of have to be really on the ball of what you're monitoring."
Alex Grootkoerkamp, the beach captain at Lawrencetown, said the international lifeguards have skills they can teach less experienced staff that are far greater than local staff with more experience.
"They're dealing with bigger populations, more rescues, more drownings than we would ever get to deal with here in such a short season, so just having that wealth of knowledge is a huge asset for us," he said.
Grootkoerkamp said that kind of experience is more in demand in Nova Scotia than ever, as more recreational surfers get out to the beach in recent years.
"Lawrencetown over the past few years has seen an increase in recreational surfers who come out and rent equipment and we've seen an increase in injuries because of it," said Grootkoerkamp, who works for Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service and has also done work exchanges in Australia.
Outram and the other two international guards arrived a week before their June 28 start date to attend a training camp to train local lifeguards, who will be working at beaches across the province.
"That experience in the ocean on the rescue board, that comes with years of practice," said Outram.
The fibreglass rescue boards, which look like surf boards, are "just so much better especially in the ocean."
Outram said new or recreational surfers who may be unsure of the water conditions shouldn't feel scared to ask the lifeguards questions.
Lifeguard services continues at beaches across Nova Scotia until Sept. 1.