Training Begins For Juniors and Nippers

It’s that time of the year again. With schools finally out and kids with summer energy to burn, the East Hampton Town Junior Lifeguard and Nipper Guard programs started up this week. These are water skills and safety programs with East Hampton Town lifeguards as instructors. Swim evaluations began in the spring at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter. From the age of 9 up, the morning programs are held at the ocean. Nippers, as the younger participants are called, train in calmer bay waters in Amagansett and Montauk. 

Given that we are surrounded by water, these programs are vital. Knowing how to deal with currents and waves — and getting pointers on swimming techniques from experienced guards — builds confidence and self-esteem. The programs also provide a feeder track for further training, forging young recruits who will be the lifesavers of the future at both public beaches and private facilities.

John Ryan Sr., the longtime guiding force behind the town lifeguards, is fond of saying that no one has ever drowned at a protected beach here. While not every kid who jumps in the water as a junior lifeguard or a Nipper will eventually progress to watching over others in the water, the skills they learn may prove valuable in other ways. Plus, it’s a whole lot of fun. Everyone involved deserves a tip of the sun hat for a job well done.