Eighteen new professional lifeguards have been added to Kouga’s pool.
The 18 youngsters, including top junior surfers Angelo Faulkner and Jeremy van Wyk, passed their final lifesaving exams with flying colours at Jeffreys Bay on Sunday.
“Each of the youngsters will now receive a Lifeguard Award,” said Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson.
“This qualification is recognised internationally and can help them secure work as a lifeguard anywhere in the world.”
He said a further four candidates were unable to complete the time test for swimming due to rough conditions and would be re-examined within the next two weeks.
“Another three candidates are also set to take the exam. Should all of them qualify, we will have 25 new home-grown lifeguards to look after holiday-makers on our beaches this festive season,” he said.
The group includes young people, aged 18 to 30, from Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp and St Francis Bay.
Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks commended them for their hard work over the past six months.
“The training requires immense stamina and commitment. Many candidates dropped out along the way, but these 25 refused to give up.
“They trained tirelessly, with no remuneration or incentive other than their determination to become professional lifeguards.”
He further thanked Kouga’s senior lifeguards for the fine work they had done in training the youngsters.
The candidates responded to an invitation from the municipality earlier this year for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 to register for free lifeguard training.
Benson, whose directorate is responsible for lifeguard services, said the aim of the initiative was to increase the local pool of lifeguards and give young people the opportunity to benefit from seasonal employment opportunities.
The training was open to Kouga residents only.