Sri Lanka Coast Guard lifeguards reached another important milestone in their lifesaving activities passing the 1000 mark in rescued lives when lifesavers attached to the Hikkaduwa lifesaving station rescued three local youth from being swept away to sea.The three youth, aged between 19 – 21 years are residents of the Gampaha District were saved by Coast Guard lifeguards on duty at the popular southern beach in Hikkaduwa last week (17th April).
This is a significant achievement for the Coast Guard lifesaving activities which began in 2009 with a small lifesaving team deployed at the popular Mirissa beach in the Southern coast.Since rescuing a Korean national in December 2009 at Mirissa, the SLCG lifeguards have been able to save more than one thousand lives including 405 foreign nationals from France, China, Australia, Thailand, Nepal, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Netherland, England, Russia and Germany, up to date, the Ministry of Defense said.
As an island nation, Sri Lanka is blessed with pristine seas and golden beaches that entice thousands of foreign tourists to visit the country daily. In addition the beaches are also patronized by a large number of locals especially during the holiday season.Realizing the importance of having lifesaving points in beaches, the SLCG has established a number of lifesaving stations in popular beaches around the country. So far SLCG operates 13 such lifesaving stations manned by well-trained life guards. These personnel are provided internationally recognized training at the SLCG Life Saving School at Balapitiya.
Lifesaving personnel are also stationed at other location on special occasions such as during the annual St. Anthony's feast at the Kachchativu islet, Kataragama festival season and etc.The SLCG also conducts lifesaving educational awareness and training programs for school children, tri services personnel, university students and public and private sector employees. The beaches have become much safer with Coast Guard lifesavers keeping vigilant watch over the beaches.