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57 awarded Cook Islands Bronze Medallion in successful water safety programme

Tuesday 18 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National

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Cook Islands Tourism celebrated a successful water safety training programme with a staggering 57 participants awarded the Cook Islands Bronze Medallion (CIBM) 2024.

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation (CIT) is pleased to announce a record number of participants graduating from its annual water safety training programme.

In a statement, Cook Islands Tourism said this year saw a staggering 57 participants awarded the Cook Islands Bronze Medallion (CIBM) 2024. Thirty-five (35) were new awardees, while 22 successfully renewed their certifications through a proficiency course.

The certification is valid for one year, and recognises guides having the necessary skills to keep themselves and their guests safe when enjoying our marine activities.

A key highlights this year, for the first time the programme expanded to Aitutaki, offering a three-day intensive course.

Tina Kae, industry development manager at Cook Islands Tourism, said: “We are thrilled to have been able to offer the inaugural Bronze Medallion course in Aitutaki.”

“This widens access to vital skills, empowering our tourism operators to keep themselves and their guests safe – no matter where they are in the Cook Islands.”

Cook Islands Tourism says it recognises the importance of water safety training in the marine tourism sector, and subsidises the programme to make it accessible.

This year’s Rarotonga attendees primarily consisted of turtle tour operators with a few independent participants, while Aitutaki’s training saw a strong turnout from lagoon tour operators.

Adding another layer of sustainability to the programme, six individuals from the major turtle tour operators on Rarotonga successfully completed additional training to become proficient trainers themselves, Tourism revealed.

“This enables them to deliver the Cook Islands Bronze Medallion course year-round, supplementing the annual Cook Islands Tourism Water Safety Training Programme.”

Lisa Maddison, chief trainer and “highly qualified” Gold Medallion Surf Lifesaver from Australia, praised the participants enthusiasm and commitment. “The standard this year has been exceptional,” she said. “The course began with a touch of nervousness from the participants. However, as their skills grew, so did their confidence. The new skills they’ve acquired will undoubtedly make a difference in how they interact with guests, fostering a sense of professionalism that will put them at ease and ensure their safety. With 57 new Bronze Medallion certified guides in your waters, guests can feel safer and more comfortable than ever before.”

Tourism added the programme’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the generous equipment donations from Surf Lifesaving Queensland and Anuenue Club in Hawaii.

“Their contribution of 20 rescue tubes and two rescue boards provided crucial resources for the training. Additionally, Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines played a key role by offering free freight for the equipment.

“Cook Islands Tourism is dedicated to providing a safe and unforgettable experience for all visitors to our islands, and this water safety training programme is a vital step in achieving that goal.”