FAQs about Viking Nippers & Lifesavers in Dubai

Frequently Asked Questions

I have heard that in order to do lifesaving, you need to be a really strong swimmer and be able to swim at least 2 kilometers in a pool – is this true? 

Swimming proficiency is an important lifeskill, and something that we aim to improve in every Viking nipper and lifesaver. Being a strong swimmer is not only good for you, but will stand members in good stead in Surf Sports competitions as well as later when they become lifesavers in Dubai or abroad.  However, you don’t need to be an Olympic standard swimmer to start with!

To join our Nippers Program in Dubai, children aged 5-7 will need to be able to swim 25 metres, and 8-11 year olds will need to swim 50 metres in a pool or open water. 

To join the Rookie Lifeguard program (12 – 18 year olds) will need to be able to swim 100m in a pool or open water.

Can you explain more about Nippers as it relates to surf lifesaving? Is my 10 year old going to be expected to deal with beach and sea rescue situations? 

The first aim of Nippers is to develop personal surf safety skills and later as they get closer to 12 years old to slowly introduce them to some lifesaving concepts.Personal surf safety skills are developed as children progress through Nippers, and helps them gain greater confidence, stamina and surf awareness. In a nutshell, with Nippers, our primary goal is to ensure children know how to handle themselves in the ocean, how to make responsible decisions and to be physically fit and swim fit. 

Throughout lifesaving and surf sports training, a very important lesson taught to all children in relation to rescue situations is to only act/respond if it is safe for them to do so. They are taught to assess the danger in any given situation and proceed in a manner that is safe according to the situation, their training and ability level, and the equipment available to them. This is all taught in an age-appropriate manner. Children of all ages will be taught about surf awareness and will be taught suitable tools in order to assist in a rescue situation in a safe manner. This could be as simple as alerting the lifeguard to a situation, or providing a flotation device to a swimmer who may need assistance. 

What do the beach flags, sprints and relay events have to do with saving lives at the beach? 

Beach flags, sprints and relays have been integral surf sport activities in Nippers and Surf Lifesaving competitions across the Life Saving world for many years. These surf sports events build speed, power, agility, fast reactions, focus and running technique needed for most sports that children play on and off the beach. Furthermore, they add a real element of fun and enjoyment to the sport. From a competition point of view, surf sports events are exciting spectacles to watch and children find them great fun to take part in. 

What type of First Aid will my child be taught at Viking Nippers and Lifesavers? 

Nippers will be taught the introductory concepts around first aid and this will be developed further for the oldest age group in Nippers (U12s). First Aid training becomes more formalised for the Rookie Lifeguards (12 – 18 year olds) as first aid becomes a component to learn and be assessed as they strive to receive their Survive and Save Awards

Is my child required to sit lifeguard duty at the beach in Dubai? 

In the UAE there is no volunteer lifeguard patrol structure like we have in other parts of the world, since the Dubai Municipality supply their own qualified life guards on the beaches in Dubai. However as a part of the Rookie program, they will be required to help out as a part of the water safety team that assist the Nippers during Nipper training.

Are you affiliated with Dubai’s official beach lifeguards? 

Viking surf sports works closely with the Dubai beach lifeguards by following beach rules and promoting water safety in the city. This is also in line with UAE Swimming aims of increasing the number of children in the UAE who can swim.

Viking sessions all take place at beaches patrolled by official Dubai Municipality lifeguards and in addition to this, Viking sessions have a dedicated Water Safety team with our very own qualified Dubai Municipality accredited lifeguard. 

Rookie Life guards, once they turn 16, will have the opportunity to take an official Dubai Municipality Beach Lifeguard course which will allow them to gain employment in official Viking training sessions and events in Dubai.

In terms of actual beach surf life saving, what do fully fledged lifesavers need to know?

In addition to the obvious  surf skills, lifesavers in Dubai learn a range of skills such as radio communications, craft rescue techniques, beach/tower hand signals, beach flags, on-craft/boat signals, crowd control, CPR, First Aid, dealing with emergency providers such as ambulances, filling out incident-report forms, etc.