SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - During the summertime, hundreds of local kids hit the beach for Junior Lifeguard training and safety is the No. 1 priority for instructors, especially after a Newport Beach lifeguard drowned Sunday.
On East Beach Tuesday, 300 kids in groups worked out together, played games and most importantly, learned how to stay safe in the ocean.
Even for experienced swimmers, the water can be unpredictable.
"Yesterday, I went in the water just to test it out; ended up getting whipped straight in there, caught in, sand everywhere. I had to get straight back out because I wasn't really sure how safe it was out there. Then looking around and seeing the lifeguards really made you feel more secure, more safe," said Jack Reeves, visiting Santa Barbara from Manchester, England.
On Sunday, 32-year-old Ben Carlson died as he was attempting to save a drowning victim. Local lifeguards got together to talk about the loss.
"We got as a group and discussed this tragic accident, and we once again reviewed our own policies in regard to safety, just to reiterate and make sure that we are continuing on with our safe procedures," said Kelsie Hendrix, the Junior Guards director.
All the Junior Lifeguard instructors are certified and pass on their knowledge to the 9-17 year olds such as Riley Svennson.
"Even through you're not a lifeguard, you can still look out for people," said Svennson, 13, from Santa Barbara.
This is his third year in the program and he said he is much more comfortable in the water.
"You're swimming with a bunch of people so you don't feel scared, rather than swimming by yourself," he said.
Hendrix hopes that feeling will continue when the kids finish the program in a few weeks.
"It's two-fold. One, it really gives them a sense of confidence in what they could do to help things and it also gives them a sense of confidence in themselves. We get a lot of kids every summer who have never swam a buoy, and the look on their faces after that first time swimming out there is really indescribable," she said.
For more information on the Junior Lifeguard program, click here.Slideshow: Lifeguards Share Safety Tips With Junior Guards