Date: Monday January 3, 4:21 pm

Lifeguards Without Boarders is putting together a team of Florida based lifeguards/EMT’s to work with local lifeguards to provide medical and lifeguard services in Montanita, Ecuador, March 5-8, 2011.  A separate team Residents/Attendings/RN’s/Paramedic’s will provide drowning resuscitation training to local MD/RN’s and help staff a mobile field treatment unit with a lifeguard strike team. http://www.salvavidasinternational.com/Home.html lwoutb


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Date: Wednesday December 8, 9:27 pm

Project Ecuador just celebrated its 4th Anniversary helping Ecuador achieve International Life Saving (ILS) standards.  ILS certification begins now.  Directors Gaby Munoz Ocana, Rodney Williamson and Bridget Srodon have made significant progress towards our goals through training and diplomacy.   

Volunteers are the key to success.

Over 50 American lifeguards have volunteered to train Ecuadorians and safe guard 16 beaches in 3 Provinces.  Our brother Ecuadorian lifeguards have watched and learned.   They want to earn the right to be a certified lifeguard.  This year, over 25 Americans will cover all coastal Provinces helping over 150 Ecuadorian Lifeguards.  An estimated 300,000 tourists will go to the beach and they cannot swim.

Municipalities are the key to sustainability.

We have helped key cities that, over time, have learned the importance of safety in the aquatic environment.  They are ready to add professional lifeguards to their communities.  Co-operative agreements have been prepared for execution signifying formal support of professional lifeguard agencies in Ecuador.

During Carnival 2010, the government reported 18 deaths by drowning.  This number will go down with your help..

Volunteers save lives.  Please Volunteer.  You will make a difference in the world.

Paul Dunning


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Date: Tuesday November 23, 10:10 pm

Director Rodney Williamson and his wife Monica opened a new chapter for Project Ecuador by expanding to the 4th coastal Province of Esmeraldas.  Please read his report below.  It is a great accomplishment!  Director Gaby Munoz got the call from SNR requesting our help.  Project Ecudor is now in all coastal regions!  Enjoy.  Paul Dunning


Lifeguards and friends of,

This past weekend Project Ecuador was invited to Esmereldas by Jorge Estupinan, Director of Tourism, to provide a weekend of training for the Esmereldas City lifeguards. My wife Monica and I hopped a bus and made the 12 hour red-eye north. Sr. Estupinan met us at the bus terminal and along with his family showed us tremendous hospitality for the entire trip.

Esmereldas is a vibrant place. The landscape, architecture, and general vibe of its people remind me of a cross between coastal Brazil and Ensenada.

The lifeguards are very experienced, with service ranging from 3 to 20 years. Included in the group are those that also serve as Police and Firemen.

We began the training Saturday morning in a classroom at city hall, covering basic lifeguarding and medical procedures, with the use of powerpoint, videos, and handouts.

Powerpoint Training at City Hall

Powerpoint Training at City Hall

After lunch we visited Atacames, a beach just south of Esmereldas, which has its own group of lifeguards who train along with Esmereldas City lifeguards. Here we attended a meeting of lifeguards representing coastal regions of the country as far south as Salinas. They discussed their plans for a national association and Project Ecuador was invited to explain how we can help. As with all groups of lifeguards, it’s a lively bunch! This day they were deciding on a logo for their association, and I was given the great honor of making the final choice! 34

That evening we visited Atacamas. If you have ever been to Montanita you know that it is one big party during Carnival. Well, times that by 10 and you have Atacamas! I know that it will be an amazing place to lifeguard this coming year.

Sunday morning was the beach training. The lifeguards are skilled and well organized. They have well constructed towers and their operation is modeled on agencies in Spain and Central America. But they have done this from afar. This past weekend was the first time they had an on-site consultant. Many recommendations were made and eagerly accepted. The most pressing issue that is quickly correctable is that of physical conditioning. Although some of the lifeguards are very strong, they tire quickly during the swimming and running exercises. Starting immediately, mandatory workouts have been implemented and monthly trainings are scheduled.75

On Monday we attended a civic ceremony in the central plaza of Esmereldas. In addition to hundreds of observers there was a military guard, a police guard, a brass band, beauty queens, and mariachis! They really know how to have a meeting.

Project Ecuador was publicly recognized by the mayor and local media covered the event. Project Ecuador uniforms were donated to the lifeguards at this event. Project Ecuador has committed to providing rescue cans, radios, fins, a four day lifeguard academy, and volunteers for carnival. In return the City of Esmereldas promises to provide lifeguards with uniforms, a unique logo, regular employment with pay, and an application for entry into the ILS.8

This is a new chapter in the development of professional lifeguarding in Ecuador. We hope to use it as an example to inspire other municipalities to do the same.

We have now added Esmereldas and Atacames to the list of beaches that will need volunteers for Carnival 2011. We are especially looking for females for this assignment, as the City of Esmereldas wants to promote lifeguarding as an occupation not only for men but also for women.9

In addition, the city is now working on creating a lifeguard service for swimming pools, which is a first in this country! Tremendous progress is being made and we thank you for your interest. 


Rodney Williamson


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Date: Tuesday June 1, 9:42 am

Our friend and colleague Justin Sempsrott, M.D. of Lifeguards International, performed a dramatic rescue at Montanita. His story and pictures follows below.


While walking down the beach, I spotted a small child in a homemade appearing life jacket. The child had just been placed in waist deep water and immediately began moving backwards in a rip current. I saw the parents move towards the child and I knew that the she would be easily reached, so I took out my camera and started shooting, in hopes of using the images in future lectures.


With the child in her parents arms, I snapped another couple pictures while looking through my camera. After lowering my camera, I saw two people being pulled further out to sea in that same rip current. If you look in the background of this picture, you can actually see the 2 soon to be patients and another person pointing to them. Despite their good intentions, the pointer and two onlookers to right eventually require rescue once they attempt to help.



I began running towards the water and was met by a surfer (Danny Flores) wearing red baggies emblazoned with a LA County Lifeguard patch. I was relieved to know that he had been trained by Project Ecuador. We retrieved the furthest two patients, who had both aspirated significant amounts of water and were fading in and out of consciousness. Upon reaching the beach with them, they were both unconscious with perioral cyanosis, but breathing. Their respiratory efforts were complicated by copious amounts of foam and vomitus from their mouths and noses. The 17 yr old female pt quickly regained consciousness and became combative, but was easily calmed and placed in a recovery position, which was maintained by bystanders as Flores and I tended to the other patient, a 16 yr old male.
The 16 yr old male was more cyanotic and having trouble breathing. With no Oxygen delivery equipment and an ambulance 1 hour away, at best, we sent a friend of the group to retrieve his private vehicle and drive it onto the beach, so that we could transport the patients to the hospital, 20 minutes away in Manglaralto.




Once loaded into the vehicle, the female pt was alert and oriented and appropriately frightened. The male pt was GCS of 12-13, responding only to deep painful stimuli and continued to vomit. You can see Flores and I holding his head up and forward, using the towel to keep his airway clear. We also had to “work with” the driver, who wanted to pull over every time the pt vomited, so that we did not get his car dirty.




Upon arriving at the “hospital”, we proceeded to the 2 bed ED and placed the pt’s on oxygen via Nasal Cannula, which was all that was available. IV’s were placed and D5W started. In my best broken Spanish, I suggested more oxygen and a bronchodilating agent, but did not want to interfere. The emergency management consisted of IV B12, acetylcysteine, and dexamethasone. They also attempted to place an OG tube while the pt was still conscious and vomiting, without success.(Though technical terminology, this amounts to the drowning equivalent of leeches). During this time, the pt began to improve and 4 more pt’s arrived, representing the would-be rescuers who were pulled out by other surfers during this incident.
In Ecuador, upon completion of medical school, doctors do a 1 year internship at a clinic such as this one, then go into practice.


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Date: Thursday February 18, 6:39 pm

On Thursday February 18th, the Ministerio de Turismo agreed to immediately move forward in the application process to join the ILSF. Salvavidas del Ecuador will be the new national association / foundation to consolidate all lifeguard operations in all regions, including volunteer lifeguards, city lifeguards, fire dept. lifeguards and red cross lifeguards through a certification process already established by Project Ecuador and a forthcoming national training roll-out.

Founder Paul Dunning and Director Gabriela Munoz Ocana solidified this historic agreement with Jorge Proano Bonilla, Subsecretario de Planificacion from the Ministerio de Turismo.


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Date: Wednesday February 17, 11:54 am

Mayor Jamie Estrada Bonilla formally recognizes Project Ecuador with a Letter of Recognition and Gratitude. A post carnival press conference was the venue allowing Paul Dunning and volunteer Marcos Pimental to discuss the rescues, training accomplishments and merits of the lifeguarding profession.

Officials from the Port, Fire Department and Ministry of Tourism are eager to revitalize this Sister City relationship.


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Date: Friday February 12, 3:28 pm

Shortly after arrival, the fire chief of Manta pays Project Ecuador a visit. Jeff thanks the Chief for his hospitality and support of our mission. A television news crew interviews Gabby, the Chief, and Jeff.



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Date: Friday February 12, 3:06 pm



Arriving in Manta, the team was greeted by firemen at the fire station Project Ecuador would call home for the duration of the mission.

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Date: Friday February 12, 2:19 pm


6AM, Nucapacha Hostel, Guayaquil:

Bill, Jeff, Mike, Nick, Gabby, Miguel, and Andres load lifesaving equipment and luggage into a flatbed truck, then pile themselves into a taxi van headed to Manta.

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Date: Tuesday February 9, 9:07 pm

Manta ready to welcome our training and modern equipment. View the News Link below.



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