in the Landes, a school to learn about the ocean

An educational niche

Worse, most of their interventions fall under “stage 1 drowning,” also known as “aquastress” (drowning is classified into four stages, depending on their severity). “It is mainly a matter of reassuring the bather, extending a hand to bring him back, or swimming next to him. They can be easily avoided.” Basically, they come to the conclusion that there is an educational niche to invest in.

So, like Australian schools, they are launching Safe Ocean. Objective: “Transfer our knowledge of the ocean to as many people as possible”. The program features a variety of fun activities, from the long shore, to swimming and fitness classes (cross training between land and sea) to advanced sessions in ocean swimming.


Knowing how to behave in the waves, understanding the mechanics of the rollers, the currents and the bains can be learned.

Laurent Theillet/SOUTHWEST

Besides that by working on a beach visited almost exclusively by locals, in Tarnos, the rescuers realize that they are not necessarily better off. “We grew up with the sea, between white water swimming, body surfing, surfing or coastal rescue. But this is not the case for all Landais or all Basques. But the lifeguards are there to watch, they don’t have time to pass on their knowledge and that’s quite frustrating. »

Garden of the Waves

This Monday, August 15 at 10 am, children from 6 to 11 years old have an appointment in the “Jardin des vague”. This is happening on Santocha Beach in Capbreton: “Here, thanks to the sandbar, the little ones can safely acclimatize to the ocean and work in the small foams,” explains Julien Bachoué. The weather is bad, the sea is rough (the bathing flag is yellow), but equipped with wetsuits and lycra, the children jump in the waves, swim, dive … “The lesson consists of familiarizing yourself with the ocean, and developing the first oceanic reflexes while playing”, deciphers the education manager of Safe Ocean.

In Capbreton, Santocha Beach is ideal for the Wave Garden, the oceanfront acclimatization offered to children ages 6 to 11 by Safe Ocean.


In Capbreton, Santocha Beach is ideal for the Wave Garden, the oceanfront acclimatization offered to children ages 6 to 11 by Safe Ocean.

Laurent Theillet/SOUTHWEST

It is a matter of understanding the mechanism of the rollers, learning to read the swimming flags or even making them aware of the protection of the coast by giving them some elements of understanding about the dune phenomenon, log cabins, pollution, or erosion. After an hour and a half they have blue lips, hungry and delighted. “We’ll be back tomorrow,” Athenais breathes. “His goal is to learn to surf,” explains his mother Lucile, reassured that her daughter can “make the right gestures in the waves. »

Hardly time to warm up, Julien Bachoué goes to a second session, with teenagers from 11 years old, in the coastguards of Labenne: “Junior Lifeguard”. An hour and a half in the water and on the sand, to tame the rollers and the currents and learn the first reflexes of shore rescue and handling the rescue board, through sports games. “We don’t want to make them competitors, but initiate them. » Turn them into seasoned swimmers. “And why not encourage callings? »

The danger of bays

On the sand, Bastien’s mother observes her son in the Labenne rollers, next to Safe Ocean. “It’s impressive, I don’t even dare to get my feet wet”, laughs this mother from Marseille, who is not at all familiar with the ocean. “Besides, there are no baths here. » No, indeed, the peculiarity of Labenne are these powerful waves that “break” at the edge. A spectacular phenomenon. But not necessarily less dangerous than baines, contrary to what she thinks. The evidence, according to the 2021 drowning survey, “baines are associated with 11% of accidental drownings and 10% of deaths, i.e. fatalities in 24% of cases.”
The baines, these fake pools, are ubiquitous on the Atlantic coast. That is why the Sud Ouest newspaper has decided, as part of the CSR project, to inform the general public about the dangers of baines. A crowdfunding for the training of lifeguards is also available on the QR code below.

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