Ocean Safety Programs for Youth on Tap for Summer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Several local and state agencies are sponsoring programs this summer aimed at teaching youngsters how to become junior lifeguards or simply instructing them in the rudiments of ocean safety.

On Saturday and Sunday, tryouts for the California Junior Lifeguard program will be held at the Coronado Municipal Pool. The program lasts five weeks.

The state program for boys and girls ages 9 to 16 teaches children about the waves and tides, marine life, and ocean and beach hazards, said Matt Gagro, spokesman for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

During the intensive program, youngsters learn water skills, first aid and lifeguard techniques from state lifeguards, Gagro said. The training classes are intended to help youngsters qualify as certified lifeguards.

Although the goal is ocean safety, the program is meant to be fun: it also features bodyboarding, paddle boarding, surfing, bodysurfing and marine and beach ecology, he said.

To qualify for the program, youngsters must pass a 100-yard swim time test, swim 15 yards under water and tread water for five minutes. The tests will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday at the Coronado pool, 1845 Strand Way. Enrollment is limited to 150 applicants with a fee of $75 per child.

Classes will be held 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays July 8 to Aug. 9 at the Silver Strand State Beach. For information, call 435-0126.

The city of San Diego begins its summer Junior Lifeguard Program with two sessions for youths 9 to 17, a lifeguard official said. The sessions are June 24 to July 26, and July 29 to Aug. 30.

The program emphasizes ocean safety, lifesaving techniques and swimming skills, but includes water and beach games, a lifeguard spokesman said. The program is recommended as preparation to become a San Diego lifeguard.

The fee for the four-week sessions is $236, with scholarships available based on financial need. To qualify, youngsters must be able to swim 100 yards in less than two minutes and 30 seconds in a tryout test.

The tryout for the first session is Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Clairemont Pool, 3600 Clairemont Drive, with a makeup session June 22 at the same time and place for those who did not pass the first time.

Tryouts for the second session are 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. July 6 at the Clairemont Pool, and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. July 13 at the Vista Terrace Pool, 301 Athey Ave., San Ysidro. For information, call 221-8899.

Oceanside begins its aquatics camp for youths 8 to 17 on July 1. The two-week sessions will continue through the summer and conclude Sept. 6, a city recreation spokeswoman said.

First-time participants must pass a swim test of 100-yards without stopping and tread water for 10 minutes. Tryouts are at 9:15 a.m. Saturday and at the same time June 22 and June 29 at the Brooks Street Pool, 130 Brooks St.

The camps at the Oceanside Pier are held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Fees are $125 per session with a $110 fee for each additional child and sessions.

Basic through advanced skills are taught in surfing, bodyboarding and bodysurfing as well as beach ecology, marine life, care of equipment and bodyboarding etiquette. Beach activities include volleyball, smashball and sand sculpting. For information, call 966-4533.

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