Trainer adaptability saves annual Christmas Island pool lifeguard training

18 March 2021
Royal Life Saving WA Life Member and trainer extraordinaire, Sallie Watson, has completed her annual trip to Christmas Island to deliver pool lifeguard training and requalification for the island’s recreation centre staff and secondary students from the local high school.

Sallie Watson directing aquatic students at Christmas IslandSallie has been making this trip every year for the past 14 years, however things didn’t quite pan out as usual this year! With the local pool running out of chlorine after not being able to receive supplies to the island, Sallie was forced to rethink her training plan. Despite arriving to some challenging conditions, Sallie – ever the consummate professional – took it all in her stride and carried on with the job.

Christmas Island Recreation Centre’s Warwick Westmore described the situation Sallie faced on arrival. “Due to our supply ship not being able to dock for almost four months, the Recreation Centre (and indeed the whole island) ran out of chlorine shortly after Sallie arrived. Not to be deterred, she stayed up half the night re-organising her plans and marshalled us to the ocean at Flying Fish Cove the next morning to complete our training and ensure all our new and existing staff were qualified.”

Sallie Watson instructing a spinal rescue in the waterA change in venue was no hindrance to Sallie in training her students, and she conducted the sessions on the beach and in the ocean as successfully as she would anywhere. Along with the lifeguard training, Sallie also signed off a new aquatic trainer and delivered an aquatic professional development session for three of the island’s aquatic trainers. Every year they get the opportunity to be requalified and refresh their aquatic skills thanks to Sallie.

“A huge thank you to Sallie for being so flexible and adaptable (as always) with our Pool Lifeguard courses for Christmas Island this year. Her dedication to assisting the island by delivering all manner of courses is outstanding and greatly appreciated. It’s vital to have someone like her in such a remote and logistically complicated location,” said Warwick.

aquatic training students standing on a beachSharon Francis, teacher at Christmas Island District High School, said she was “so very pleased to have Sallie back on our island home. Sallie is a thorough, hard working and exceptionally professional presenter. We always look forward to the bits of wisdom from Sallie’s vast knowledge that she shares with our secondary students as they complete the Royal Life Saving pool lifeguard course.”

If you have a group requiring aquatic or first aid training, learn more about Royal Life Saving WA’s group training options at the link below.

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Watch Sallie in action with her students below: