The Hampton Lifeguard Association raised over $7,000 for its junior lifeguards at the fourth annual benefit at on Friday.
Organizer Mary Lownes said the benefit is important to keeping life guards on the municipal beaches. "Many years ago the local East End towns had trouble providing guards for all the bay and ocean beaches," she said on Monday. The money raised goes toward the program, preparing students to become lifeguards.
"These Juniors are our future lifeguards, they train from age 10-15, some even younger if they pass the pool swim test. This training gives them the confidence to succeed at anything . . . it’s not easy at that young age to get in the cold ocean water and swim out to that buoy in the distance, but by the end of the program they are jumping in confidently."
They also learn life-saving techniques through the practice of lifeguarding drills. "Even more important they learn to respect the ocean and understand the currents, what a rip is; and no matter whether they become certified lifeguards or not they have this knowledge and important training to know how to get out of a rip current or not to go into unprotected waters. It’s invaluable,” she said.
For the past four years, the group has held the benefit to help offset the costs of traveling to regional events at Jones Bach and national events, like in South Carolina, California, and Florida. It also allows for equipment and uniform purchases.