Children are being taught life-saving skills in the sea at Hove by someone who recently put his own training into action.
The lessons are being laid on by the new Hove Surf Life Saving Club with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.
The club’s training officer is Ryan Pook who swam out in rough seas to help save a 13-year-old boy in difficulty near Brighton Marina less than a fortnight ago.
Mr Pook works for Brighton and Hove City Council’s Seafront Office and the South East Coast Ambulance Service.
He used the skills and experience that he has learnt as a life-saving instructor to reach the boy and keep him afloat until the RNLI Brighton lifeboat arrived.
The club, based at Hove Lagoon, runs sessions for children aged 8 to 14 on Saturday mornings on the beach and in the sea.
It said: “Sessions began on Saturday 1 June and will continue throughout the summer on a weekly basis.
“During the essential educational session, the children will learn a range of life-saving skills and first aid, giving them a taste of what it takes to be a lifeguard and encouraging them to be active while educating them to be safer by the sea.
“It will give them the opportunity to develop a new fun and healthy sporting interest for life.
“Thanks to a National Lottery Community Fund grant and community partner Lagoon Watersports, the club was able to launch much earlier than anticipated in time for the summer season.
“The club’s objective is to improve fitness, team work, safety awareness and prevention of drowning information via its activities within the local community.
“As a city by the sea, Brighton and Hove has witnessed a significant increase in members of the public partaking in sea-based activities such as open water swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding.
“Teaching young people to be safe in the water is incredibly important as we have a number of fatalities on our beaches every year.”
The club’s chairman Ian Davis said: “The club aims to support young people to achieve their best life chances and outcomes by engaging with them at the earliest possible stage, taking them outside of the classroom to a beach setting as an educational enrichment activity and providing programmes of information.
“It also specifically focuses on life skills such as an introduction to first aid.
“Involvement in surf life-saving will also enhance employment prospects for our members, especially the young people, through the array of vocational opportunities and pathways that can be accessed once becoming training and qualified in various awards and qualifications.”
The club added: “Fundamentally, having more surf life-savers will contribute to making our beaches safer and saving more lives at sea.”