EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A Junior Lifeguard Camp that took place in Emerald Isle is aiming to teach young kids ocean safety skills.
“(Wednesday) is Day three of our Junior Lifeguard Camp for 9- to 12-year-olds,” said Ocean Rescue Coordinator and Fire Marshall for Town of Emerald Isle William Matthias. “We focus on water safety skills, along with first aid. Getting the children out here on the beach strand more acclimated to our water.”
The program was first introduced in 2019 but because of COVID-19, they had to cancel it last summer. Matthias said they’re excited to be back again this year, and they’ve even had a few returners from 2019.
“Seeing those returners come back and want to be a part of the program further installs a solid foundation for us,” said Matthias.
The kids got to learn a variety of safety skills on the beach strand and in the water. For the first three days, lifeguards taught the kids how to enter the water and get through the waves.
“Previous days we worked on water entry skills as far as grabbing the cans and entering the water, how to perfuse through the water, getting through our waves, flag safety, meanings of the flags,” said Matthias.
They also taught the kids how to do first aid and CPR.
“So that kind of gives all aspects of our job when we have a response out here on our beach strand,” said Matthias.
Matthias explains the point of the program.
“The whole purpose of this junior guard camp, we start it from 9-12 years old, our next camp is 13-17 years old, is to hopefully install some type of future lifeguard applicant pool for Bogue Banks,” said Matthias.
Matthias says their next camp will include 13- to 17-year-olds and that camp kicks off Monday. Registration for next year’s camp will start around May of next year. He said overall, they hope the kids come back in the future.
“Hopefully in a couple of years we’ll have some of the guards turning of age, 18 years of age, and wanting to be a lifeguard for us,” said Matthias.