I met Bruce Moncrief the other day.
He is helping train and properly outfit lifeguards in the San Clemente / San Alejo / San Jacinto area. He hails from California and comes to Ecuador to help out lifeguarding for Carnival. This is the first year he has helped out in the San Clemente area. He has brought whistles, rescue cans, board shorts, binoculars, zync for sunscreen, radios for the guys interested in being a Salvavidas, but the best thing he has brought is the knowledge and ability to TRAIN the salvavidas.
Bruce was astounded that the local Ecuadorians had never seen lifeguards and would quite often question him about “what are you doing?”, “why are you doing this?”, etc. He would tell vacationers about the need for a lifeguard. He was even more astonished with how quickly the local salvavidas would pickup on the lesson being taught. There is not enough safety gear to go around for all the guys, so they would quickly improvise. Instead of waving the rescue “can” in the air, they would wave a surfboard in a similar fashion when no “can” was available. This is just as recognizable to other salvavidas and gets the point across in true Ecuadorian style.
They conducted many rescues over the carnival celebration week. Luigi, the director of tourism for Bahia was working with Bruce to help outfit and set up the salvavidas here in San Clemente. There is no current budget for salvavidas, but Luigi is working on that. There is hope that he can hire Antonio soon to be a full time salvavida for San Clemente.
In US terms, there was a vast shortage of salvavidas on the beaches this carnival season. Bruce estimated that the stretch of beach he and 1 other salvavida covered would have had over 15 lifeguards in the US. Thats a huge difference, but it is a start.
So if you see a salvavida on the beach, thank them for what they do. They quickly learned rescue techniques and how to conduct them safely. If you want to help donate time or money, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to assist. He has been doing this all out of his own pocket. All money would go directly to buying rescue equipment.