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Lifeguards dedicate summer to training

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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH -- Lifeguarding may seem like the perfect job. What could beat getting paid to spend all day on the beach? But in reality, that's not the case. Lifeguards dedicate their entire summer to intense training. And I was able to get a first hand look at some of that training as I rode along with ocean rescue and the Coast Guard as they prepare for any situation in the water. Once every month the Wrightsville Beach Coast Guard and ocean rescue team up for "live man overboard training." Ocean Rescue Capt. Jeremy Owens said, "We like to get together periodically and train just to work with each other and train in an environment before we have to work together for real." Lifeguards have had to put the training to use "for real" several times. Owens said, "On Masonboro Island we've had several incidences and off shore we had a plane crash, I believe, two summers ago that we assisted in recovering some of the victims of that as well." To start the training some members of ocean rescue jumped off the Coast Guard boat. Then the Coast Guard sent their surface swimmers to save the people over board." The Coast Guard sent out two boats and repeated the man over board drill several times. The lifeguards playing the role of victim try to struggle to challenge the Coast Guard. Owens said, "It helps us by training with the Coast Guard getting together in a working relationship and having that type of bond with them." Besides bonding with the Coast Guard, Ocean Rescue hopes training sessions like this gives the community more faith in the men and women who protect people in the water. "When they come into Wrightsville Beach they can come knowing it's a fully staffed professional lifeguarding service that their offered and were watching them everyday," Owens said. Throughout the season lifeguards stay physically fit and continually train to be prepared for different situations in the water. Also, half of the lifeguards at Wrightsville Beach are emergency medical technicians or are going through the training to become one.

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