WATCH: Learn To Recognise A Drowning Child


father in law at the beach tel avivI was at one of Tel Aviv’s beaches yesterday as the temperature came close to 40C. Not all the beaches are officially open yet. They usually open completely after the Passover holiday  (which ends on Friday).

I told this short story on Facebook in a video too.

I was at the beach with my father in law who has surfed all his life. He’s friendly with the lifeguards who man the station next to where we sit. During the week it’s a religious beach catering to the more modest dress codes that our orthodox communities prefer. At weekends when I usually go with my family (and as now, before the season) it’s just a regular beach.

Yesterday there was no lifeguard on this beach. Flags were not flying and it was very obvious. I was in the water with my two kids and my father in law and various other adults most of whom are experienced in the water. We were all teaching the kids (from the age of 4 up) to surf on full size (but rubber coated) surf boards. Which is to say pretty much all our kids were matched 1 for 1 with adults either in the water or watching them carefully at all times.

I was with my father in law while he was showing my 9 year old son how to paddle to catch his own waves. I was shepherding my almost 7 year old. From the lifeguard station I hear a whistle and see the head lifeguard waving at my slightly deaf father in law. The life guard wasn’t on duty. He wasn’t being paid. He’s not supposed to be there, but he was and he was watching. He pointed and we saw a boy about 40m to our left. My father in law immediately headed over there.

Just as in the video below, the boy, probably 11 or 12, was bobbing up and down. His mother was even watching him from the shore. She didn’t realise how close it was to a tragedy. My father in law got to him, moved him 5m to where he could stand and the two of them walked out of the water. The head life guard then went to have a chat with the mother. I think she was pretty shocked.

Drowning is very subtle. It’s not noisy or splashy. Learn to spot it. The life guards on Israel’s beaches are amazing. This is not the first time I’ve personally seen them saving a life but every other person who knows what to look for can save a life too.

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Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian is an indigenous rights activist fighting for indigenous people who’ve returned to their ancestral homelands and built great things.