North Shore lifeguards rescue summer program - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

North Shore lifeguards rescue summer program

Abe Lerner Abe Lerner
Bryan Phillips Bryan Phillips
Kerry Atwood Kerry Atwood

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

WAIMEA BAY (HawaiiNewsNow) - Abe Lerner uses his jet ski to help swimmers and surfers in distress. But now the North Shore lifeguard is using creativity and contributions to handle another emergency

"The city's standpoint was either don't staff beaches or do the Junior Lifeguard program. And they got to staff the beaches. That's their number one concern," he said.

The city's Ocean Safety Division lacks excess manpower to run all the Junior Lifeguard program sites. So North Shore lifeguards will teach their program on their days off.

"All these guys are either former city and county lifeguards or are current North Shore lifeguards," said lifeguard Bryan Phillips.

Lifeguard recruits fill slots that free up seasoned lifeguards to teach the junior classes. But this year there was no recruiting class. So the city scaled back.

Lerner and others in the North Shore Lifeguard Association came up with the idea of doing the North Shore clinic on their own.

"We picked the ball up and ran with it," he said.

Singer Jack Johnson heard about it and donated $10,000 to the association to pay the lifeguards. Haleiwa Joe's pitched in more money and Quicksilver paid the liability insurance.

"They felt it was an asset to the community and it was a safe, positive place for the kids to spend a week out of the summer," said North Shore lifeguard Kerry Atwood.

The Junior Lifeguard program teaches kids 13 to 17 ocean safety skills and life-saving techniques.

"It's not a learn-to-swim program," Phillips said. "We want the kids coming in knowing how to swim and having some ocean knowledge."

Signup's for the North Shore program are Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of Foodland in Pupukea.

To learn more go the http://www.northshorelifeguards.com.

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