Ocean Junior Lifeguard Program at Atlantique

By Lorna LuniewskiAfter seven successful years of running the Fire Island Open Water Swim (OWS) in Atlantique, Bryan Krut, the owner of Open Water Swim Long Island, decided to shift his focus and dedicate his attention to helping children build confidence and gain the necessary skills to become a lifeguard. The five-time Cross Bay Champion, Nationally Ranked All-American and Zone Champion and Nationally Ranked Ocean Lifeguard, has been a lifeguard on Fire Island for more than 30 years. “Our last OWS in Atlantique was in 2018, and we were awarded the coveted National Championship 5k Long Distance Open Water Swim by United States Masters Swimming,” Krut said. “We raised over $45,000 for Hospice Care Network over the duration of the swim. It was an amazing run.” Krut always dreamed of starting a junior lifeguard program on Fire Island. “This is where my roots are and Fire Island Ocean Rescue Lifeguards are some of the best in the country,” he stated. “We look forward to continuing this legacy.” The Junior Lifeguard Program is offered through the Town of Islip and sponsored by Northwell Health Southside Hospital. Krut piloted the first junior lifeguard program at Atlantique last year, during one week in August. Since it was so successful, it was launched this year, and there are currently 100 kids participating. The program, which began on June 29, is open to ages 9-16. The course will teach water safety and introduce participants to the duties and responsibilities of an ocean lifeguard. Participants will practice lifesaving techniques, identify dangerous water conditions, learn to use rescue equipment, and learn first aid, CPR and AED. While the course will not certify anyone to be a lifeguard, it will build a foundation of knowledge, attitude and skill in preparation for the New York State Level 1 Ocean Lifeguard Test. This year’s program consists of nine Saturdays, from 7:30-10:15 a.m. The cost is $200 for residents and $250 for non-residents. According to the Town of Islip Summer 2019 Recreation News [book], participants must be able to demonstrate the following skills: swim in front crawl for 100 yards continuously while breathing to the front or side; tread water for one minute using arms and legs; show a level of comfort on the back by floating on the back for 30 seconds or swimming on the back for 25 yards using elementary backstroke or back crawl; and submerge and swim a distance of 10 feet underwater. “We are Town if Islip residents and are so excited to offer this program to our community,” Krut said. “The kids are having a blast!”