PLS Conducts Special Swim and Survive Training Course to 40 members of Coast Guard K9 Command
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) sent forty of its ranked K9 personnel, led by CDR. Edgar L. Ybañez , PCG Fleet Operation Commander and LCDR Allen J. Dalangin, CGK9 Commander, to a twelve-day Special Swim and Survive (SSS) training , that started on July 1, 2009 and culminated with the graduation of all forty participants on July 15th.
The SSS training, an advocacy program of Philippine Life Saving (PLS) , was conducted at the Coast Guard K9 Headquarters in Coast Guard Base, Taguig City. The training was aimed not only to enhance the personal survival skills of participants but also for the PLS to scout for potential instructors from among the graduates to teach Swim and Survive –a seven-competency level survival training program considered to be one of today’s best practices in Water Safety Program , endorsed by the International Life Saving Federation (ILS), introduced by the Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA) and adopted by almost all lifesaving organizations in the world (PLS included), in the pursuit of their common mission of reducing drownings worldwide.
In the July 15 closing ceremony , LCDR Allen Dalangin, CGK9 Commander, who sounded very upbeat in his welcome speech before the participants , PLS executives, and honored guests, remarked , “The Swim and Survive Program affords CGK9 added knowledge and skills aside from surviving skills we already possess.” He also emphasized the need for these skills to be honed if “ CGK9 was to become more efficient in its lifesaving efforts.”
The special training provided lectures on aquatic rescue and lifesaving with extensive water evolution exercises. Lectures and hands-on training were presided by PLS Secretary General Larry S. Alag , BM and PLS Mindanao Representative Rahuel J. Antonio, BM and were duly complemented by guest instructors from the PCG namely SCPO Gerardo A. Nobis Jr. CGSOG, BM and PO3 Nelson D. Ojano CGSOG, BM.
One of the culminating activities that capped the event was the Lifeguard Challenge, an ultimate challenge which tested not only endurance but also the skills learned during the training . Lifeguard Challenge is a two-man per team timed swim, simulating a water rescue scenario where a Lifeguard tows a victim using a rescue tube. The duo of PO2 Eugenio M. German, CGSOG and ASN Ronnel E. Casas, PCG, outmaneuvered the other contending pairs , pulling off the fastest in a time of 1:54 to finish a 150-meter distance and thereby grabbing the Lifeguard Challenge Award.
PLS President Arne A. Navarra, in his heartfelt message to the graduates who each was awarded a Special Swim and Survive Certificate during the rites, underscored the coincidental benefits that each participant gets from the training. “ Aside from the skilled learned, there are attitudes desired of a Lifesaver like character, commitment and courage, unknowingly instilled in each participant during the conduct of the training program,” Navarra remarked. His charge upon the graduates was for them “to teach in turn what they have just been taught and reach out for others.” He also exhorted them never to turn their backs on lifesaving but rather to “be there always for lifesaving’s sake!”
CDR Gonzalo A. Magno, PCG Chief of Staff CGFLEET lent honor to the simple graduation rites as the graduation speaker. In an inspiring message delivered before SSS Class 07-09 , Magno expressed warm congratulations to the batch for a job well-done, and played up the relevance of the SSS training by saying, “This training , a novelty for the Coast Guard K9 Command, has provided you with new knowledge and skills that are very unique from the talents and skills you possess as members of the CG K9 Command.” It can be gleaned from his statement that the training for Batch 07-09 may just very well be the starting point for the CGK9 to continuously immerse its men and women into the lifesaving advocacy of PLS, and thus herald a fruitful collaboration between the two life- preserving entities, as CGK9 sends more of its men and women to the next SSS training programs next year.