Tourism operators will be brushing up on water safety knowledge from next month.
Swimming instructor Augustine Kopa is teaching the three-month community education course through the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute. It is aimed at those in the tourism industry who run water safety activities.
“What I’m teaching them is to take water safety a bit more seriously, not something they just do for work – being more prepared on land for the water, and being prepared for what water can bring.”
Kopa has 18 years of experience teaching swimming, and has been doing so in the Cooks since 2007. After learning to swim at four years old, she began swimming competitively when she was 11.
“I love swimming passionately. It’s part of my everyday life.”
She says teaching the course will go hand-in-hand with her regular swimming lessons through her business Rarotonga Aquatic Education Swim School (RAESS), where she teaches all ages from three months up to adults.
“Water safety is always the top priority. The course is mainly aimed at those sending tourists into the water. I think the minute they come on the island, they need to know where they can and can’t swim.
“It’s very different from New Zealand. People say water is water, but it’s not like that.”
Kopa says about half of the course will be in the classroom learning theory, while the other half will be in the water.
The course will start on March 4 and classes will be held twice a week from 5pm at the Ngatangiia campus of the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute.