Heroes guarding the beaches of Punta Leona

One of the most common causes of death in Costa Rica is water accidents, especially at sea.

In our country during 2017 they ranked third in importance, as according to data from the Costa Rican Red Cross, 116 people lost their lives in water accidents which demonstrates the importance not only in the caution that each individual should have to when and where they get into the water, but to have a team of people trained to meet any eventuality.

Hotel and Club Punta Leona, specifically in Playa Blanca, is one of the only beaches in the country that maintains a lifeguard team every day of the year.

In the central Pacific only Jaco has lifeguards, it has 2 to cover over 5 kilometers of beach. Meanwhile in Playa Blanca beach we have 3 for 250 meters of beach and is therefore much safer.

The lifeguard's job is to prevent accidents but their success depends a great deal on the compliance of the public.

Currently, the Lifeguard Department has 5 people. As stated above, 3 of them stand look out on Playa Blanca beach, while the other two are distributed between the swimming pools and Playa Mantas beach.

The lifeguard’s main task is preventing incidents within their surveillance zone with constant scanning and warnings, as well as performing rescues when necessary.

“We have a complete rescue team that includes an automated resuscitator, kayaks, specialized rescue tables, oxygen tanks, in short everything necessary to resolve a possible emergency. We also work together with the primary care room which allows even greater room for maneuver when it comes to saving a life,”said Nelson Mora, head of the Lifeguard Department.

Preparation

To be accredited as a lifeguard, they must pass a series of courses and certifications, including Aquatic Rescue, First Aid and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

The updating and training of the lifeguard team is constant because it determines their ability to react to any eventuality. Lifeguards must be in good physical shape, very motivated and able to respond responsibly to dangerous and emergency situations.

“Actually the work of a lifeguard is largely preventive because what we want is to prevent bathers from getting into trouble and endangering their health or life. This preventive work has to do with the placement of proper signage, informing people before they enter the sea in case there are dangerous currents, and be alert to all the potential conditions that the ocean presents,”said Mora.

Strong investment

Hotel and Club Punta Leona invests a large amount of money maintaining the lifeguard department, since accident prevention and the safety of our members and guests have always been a priority.

“We have all the necessary warning signs to alert the tourist before they enter the sea, such as preventive flags, signs, etc. For us the most important thing is that the members and guests feel safe, so we do not skimp on this type of investment, which in itself is quite strong, both in the excellent staff and in the necessary equipment to provide an efficient service. You don't find that on any other beach in the country and one must value this effort, “said Joe Calderón, Hotel operations manager.

Whether in the sea, the pools or the mainland, the lifeguards of Punta Leona are always willing to ensure the safety of tourists, although they themselves insist that the success of their work depends a lot on the attention and respect that the bathers give to the preventive measures put in place by the those same lifeguards.

 

Cesar Vargas

Journalist