Lifeguards Without Borders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lifeguards Without Borders
Industry Water Safety Awareness
Founded 2006
Founders Justin Sempsrott, Andrew Schimdt

Lifeguards Without Borders is an international non-profit organization made up of volunteer lifeguards and health care professionals who aim to reduce drowning worldwide through domestic and international training, program development, and research.[1] It was organized by doctors Justin Sempsrott and Andrew Schimdt in 2006, and is an international division of the American Red Cross Volunteer Lifesaving Corps, which has provided volunteer lifeguards to beaches in the United States since 1912.[2] The group's projects have included lifeguard instructor training programs in Peru; teaching EMS, nursing and physician courses; performing medical research on drowning; donating whistles, buoys, and rescue boards; and providing additional lifeguards for large scale events, such as Carnaval in Ecuador. The organization partners with other international lifesaving and drowning prevention organizations to provide logistical, educational, and resource support.[1]


Lifeguards Without Borders began as part of the American Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps, with the goal of sending volunteer lifeguards to regions with high drowning risk.[2] Also known as “Salvavidas International”, volunteers for Lifeguards Without Borders are primarily medical students who, in addition to guarding some of the most dangerous beaches in the world, also teach water safety and training to many of the communities with which they volunteer. Although many of the volunteers do go on to medical careers, many still choose professions outside of the healthcare field. The volunteer lifeguard program was founded by Justin Sempsrott, M.D., and Andrew Schmidt in 2006, who saw a need for lifesaving techniques to be spread across the globe, helping to combat high drowning rates in areas without access to lifeguards or information about drowning [3] The organization aims to keep their focus broad and train people in the basics of water safety instead of sending lifeguards to specific locations. They believe that this creates a self-sustaining system.

Major projects[edit]

The primary focus of Lifeguards Without Borders is doing service projects worldwide, and they now frequently have mission trips to educate different countries about water safety.[4]

Jamaica 2005[edit]

The visit to Jamaica in 2005 was the project that first started Lifeguards Without Borders. The initial objective of the project was to develop a water safety course for the national search and rescue Team. The objective changed when they realized that many of the participants did not know how to swim. Lifeguards Without Borders was then created to teach people how to save themselves and others.[5]

Dominican Republic 2006[edit]

The team visited Juan Dolio beach and trained other lifeguards on rescuer safety, focusing on techniques such as the “Reach-Throw” lay-response [6]

Jacksonville 2008[edit]

Instead of training other lifeguards, the team decided to focus on hundreds of kids at the Carver Community Center. The team saw that many of the children lived near the beach but could not swim. The project included lessons, free cook outs, and donations from Sunrise Surf Shop, Surfman Monica Ruggerio, and the Wavemasters Society.[7]

Peru 2008[edit]

Back for a second time, Lifeguards Without Borders developed a course to train Peruvian lifeguards to become instructors. The course included lifeguards from the Peruvian National Lifeguards and Association of Volunteer Lifeguards.[8]

Bangladesh 2009[edit]

Justin Sempsrott traveled to Bangladesh to join Centre for Injury Prevention and Research to help campaign in drowning prevention. He also met with local lifeguards to help decrease the number of drownings.[9]

Ecuador 2011[edit]

Along with Paul Dunning, Lifeguards Without Borders helped prevent drowns during the Carnival holiday in the Santa Elena area. During the time there, they performed 1878 interventions and 55 rescues.[10]

Vietnam 2011[edit]

Members of the Lifeguard Without Borders attended the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in DaNang, Vietnam. The founders, Justin Sempsrott and Andrew Schmidt presented a research “Systematic Review of Non-Ustein Style Drowning Terms”,[11][12] and members demonstrated proper CPR techniques.[13]

Germany 2013[edit]

The next Lifeguards with Borders Project is scheduled for this year in Germany, when members will attend the World Conference on Drowning Prevention.[11]

Drowning research and publications[edit]

One of the issues that motivate the members of Lifeguards Without Borders to continue on their mission is the issue with the term “drowning.” Drowning has had several different definitions. There have also been different categories of drowning, including silent, wet and dry drowning. The 2002 World Congress of Drowning, the first conference of its kind, came to a consensus of the definition of drowning as, ”the process of experiencing respiratory impairment as the result of submersion/immersion in a liquid medium”.[14] The drowning research conducted by Lifeguards Without Borders also concluded that drowning is the tenth leading cause of death for people of all ages in the United States and is the cause of 1% of deaths worldwide.[1] The organization was able to educate people of the extensive research they conducted on drowning through an article published on, written by co-founder Justin Sempsrott. The article also includes other information relating to the history of drowning.

Further information: Drowning


  1. ^ a b c "Lifeguards without Borders Fights Drowning - Patient Care - @". 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b "In time for their 100th anniversary, lifeguards plan to expand their station in Jacksonville Beach". 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  3. ^ "History". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  4. ^ "Projects". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  5. ^ "Jamaica". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  6. ^ "Dominican Republic". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  7. ^ "Jacksonville 2008". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  8. ^ "Peru 2008". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Bangladesh". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  10. ^ "Ecuador 2011". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  11. ^ a b "Vietnam 2011". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  12. ^ "World Conference on Drowning Prevention Study Synopsis". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  13. ^ "Vietnamese Lifeguards CPR". YouTube. 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  14. ^ "Drowning". Lifeguards Without Borders. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 

External links[edit]