A few buoys in life-saving exercise

FELIXSTOWE residents and visitors taking a stroll by the beach at the weekend may have seen flashes of red and yellow as lifesavers raced to win the national canoe lifeguard championships.

By JOANNE CONSTABLE

joanne.constable@eveningstar.co.uk

FELIXSTOWE residents and visitors taking a stroll by the beach at the weekend may have seen rapid flashes of red and yellow as lifesavers raced to win the national canoe lifeguard championships.

The resort played host to the championships where six teams of men and women were competing for trophies.

On Saturday lifesaving canoeists were dashing in and out of the sea saving mock casualties – volunteers from canoe clubs in Ipswich and Colchester.

David Wyatt, national secretary of the British Canoe Union Lifeguards, and event organiser, said: "We had six teams in this year's championships at Felixstowe. There were three junior teams, Dominant Sandwich from Weymouth, The Hassle Buoys from Weymouth and The Three Little Life Buoys from Herts.

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"There were three senior teams, Swiftwater 200 from Wales, Jimmy & The Buoys from Herts and The Men in Red and Yellow from Chalkwell."

Their rescue and first aid skills were tested through seven Suffolk Canoe Lifeguards organised events which included rescuing capsized kayakers and paddling out to sea to bring a casualty back to shore for resuscitation.

On Sunday the teams were sent on a mystery lifesaving mission before sitting down – not to relax but to take a written theory test.

Organisers had been worried about the choppy sea on Friday but when the event began the waves had calmed although they were disappointed by the lack of sunshine.

"The national championships are a good way for units from all over the country to meet up, compete against each other and socialise," said Mr Wyatt.

"The junior teams performed very well, especially The Three Little Life Buoys from Herts. This was the first time they had paddled on the sea.

"They train at Herts Young Mariners base at Cheshunt, a far cry from the swell of Felixstowe beach. It was agreed by all that these three young lads would be a hard team to beat when they become seniors."

WEBLINKS

www.bculifeguards.com

www.bcu.org.uk

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