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Outback Innovations: Transforming Lifeguard Training in Western Australia

For many, Lifeguarding is more than just a job; it’s a duty that each lifeguard treats with huge amounts of passion and pride. Whilst traditional training methods have been long established, in the pursuit of preparedness, more and more lifeguard trainers are choosing to look at realism in their training to make sure that when the time comes, their team are rescue ready.

One such pioneer in the industry is Stephen Waterman, Swimming Pool Manager at the Royal Life Saving Society – Western Australia, who has revolutionised his lifeguard training through the integration of our Pool Rescue manikin, in particular within the remote communities in WA.

In this case study, Stephen shares his insights on how this innovative training tool has transformed his programs and elevated the standard of lifeguard preparedness…


Discovering Ruth Lee

Stephen’s journey with Ruth Lee began when he came across a post on LinkedIn from our Australian distributors at LifeTec featuring the Pool Rescue manikin. Stephen was immediately intrigued, recognising the transformative potential of incorporating such a tool into both his personal lifeguarding proficiency and the courses he facilitates. After reaching out to us/LifeTec and sharing his story of supporting remote and Aboriginal communities with water safety initiatives across Western Australia, we were deeply moved and felt compelled to applaud his important work.


Integration into Training Programs

For over two years, Stephen has seamlessly integrated the Pool Rescue manikin into his lifeguard training programs. Whether for personal training sessions or Bronze Medallion/Aquatic Rescue Courses, the versatility of the manikin, he says, really shines through. From retrieval exercises to contact tows, the manikin, named “Bobby,” has become an indispensable asset in Stephen’s toolkit. One notable highlight is the elimination of any discomfort or awkwardness often associated with requiring new candidates to role-play during training sessions.

“I don’t have to ask for volunteers as I can now demonstrate on the Pool Rescue manikin which helps to eliminate shame and embarrassment.”


Realism Redefined

Compared to traditional training tools, such as bulky plastic torsos (you know the ones!), the Pool Rescue manikin offers a level of realism that truly simulates real-world scenarios. Not only is the manikin full-bodied, resembling a real swimmer much more closely than the orange limb-less torsos (have you ever seen someone swimming with no limbs?). The manikin is also carefully designed to both sink to the bottom of the pool, and float across the surface of the water when towed correctly. Stephen emphasised “It adds more realism and takes away the need for volunteers”. This not only enhances the effectiveness of training but also fosters a more engaging and inclusive learning environment.


Impact on Training Methodology

The introduction of the manikin has brought about significant changes in Stephen’s training methodology. Gone are the days of awkwardly switching between plastic torsos and volunteers. With “Bobby” at the forefront, training sessions have become streamlined, safer, more efficient, and, most importantly, more effective.

“It has made training a lot simpler because it eliminates the need for volunteers and helps that the candidates don’t have to spend time underwater waiting to be retrieved off the bottom of the pool.”

Among the standout moments since the manikin’s introduction is Stephen’s successful facilitation of a women’s only Bronze Medallion course. Where “Bobby” proved to be an invaluable training tool, allowing Stephen to seamlessly demonstrate all techniques throughout the course, which without the manikin would have posted logistical challenges or potential breaches of protocol in this community.


Ensuring Safety and Preparedness

Central to lifeguard training is the preparation for real-life emergencies. Stephen firmly believes that the Pool Rescue manikin plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall safety and preparedness of the lifeguards in his programmes. By providing lifelike simulations in a controlled environment, the manikins empower trainees to tackle emergencies with confidence and proficiency.

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Reflecting on his experience, Stephen highly recommends the Pool Rescue manikin to fellow lifeguard trainers. Its unmatched realism, ease of use, and ability to simulate real-world scenarios make it an invaluable asset in any training arsenal.

As Stephen’s journey demonstrates, embracing innovation in lifeguard training can truly elevate standards and, ultimately, save lives.


Ready to enhance your lifeguard preparedness too? Discover more about our Pool Rescue manikin here!

Connect with Stephen Waterman on LinkedIn to find out more about the work he’s doing for remote communities in Western Australia: Steve Waterman Aquatics


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