San Diego (KGTV) Dozens of San Diego Junior Lifeguards made a splash in Ocean Beach as they took a jump off the iconic pier. This is the second and final event of the summer. Organizers say this is the only time people can jump off of the pier.
There was excitement and a little nervousness as the kids counted down and jumped in.
“The instructors really work with their kids to get them ready for this day. Everyone is excited,” says Heather Rabi, Program manager with the San Diego Junior Lifeguards. “When they finally jump off, they’ll tell you it’s the best feeling in their life.”
The event is hosted by the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. The funds will provide swim lessons for those in need across San Diego County.
“Not every child has the opportunity, has the access. They don’t have the means so we want to provide that opportunity,” says Nicole McNeil, President of the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. “It’s a life skill that everyone should be able to learn how to swim. So we want to make that possible.”
According to the foundation, formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of a child drowning by almost 90%. Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury deaths for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death of children under 14.
McNeil says this is why lifeguards are so important.
“There's a national lifeguard shortage. We need more lifeguards in San Diego and more swim instructors. We can’t teach kids how to swim if we don’t have lifeguards.”
The Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego encourages kids to learn how to swim as early as possible. The organization will be holding free, parent and tot classes this week:
Friday, August 19 Tierrasanta pool 4:00p
Saturday, August 20 Martin Luther King Jr. pool 12:00p