COAST GUARD AUDITS LIFEGUARDS IN POOLS, BEACH RESORTS
ILOILO CITY – An audit is underway to determine the skills and competency of lifeguards working in resorts with swimming pools, as well as coastal beach resorts in Western Visayas.
In an interview on Thursday, Commodore Allan Victor T. dela Vega, commander of the Coast Guard District Western Visayas, underscored that the role of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) “is to assess that they (lifeguards) are qualified and competent and not just warm bodies guarding the beaches and pools.”
“We have issued a memorandum circular that there should be lifeguards in every resort that has pools and coastal beach resort. The role of the Coast Guard is to ensure that private resorts, the municipal government, if it’s a public beach area, should have life guards,” dela Vega said.
The audit has covered about 50 percent of the target establishments in Western Visayas, although the focus was in Boracay island prior to its opening last October 26.
The PCG has audited 211 lifeguards and trained them “for more improved competence in terms of saving life at sea and basic life support.”
He also found owners of pools and beach resorts with no certified lifeguards’ cooperative but were willing to have their lifeguards assessed and trained by the Coast Guard.
He said the assessment will not entail any additional cost except for the PHP300 certification fee from the PCG.
Dela Vega said the needs of establishments vary.
During the assessment, the PCG will check their equipment, apart from the skills and competence of lifeguards. “With the right apparatus, you can perform your job well,” he stated.
The PCG official added that while they cannot sanction non-compliant establishments, pools are not supposed to operate without a lifeguard on duty.
He said all they could do to non-cooperative establishments is to hang tarpaulins warning the public that no competent lifeguard is present. "But that is not the objective. We are pressuring them (resort management) to comply," dela Vega explained. (PNA)