Doubt It or Drill It?

Our old practice is too scary to think about now and I’m proud to have changed it long ago. Not only do we drill every miscount, we also added a swinging gate at the dock entrance that says “Please Check In” on one side and “Did You Check Out” on the other. That gate has prevented 95% of oversights due to miscounts.

The drills have prevented our dread borne of doubt.

Because we conduct an LBD every single time the number of buddy pairs in the water does not match the number of buddy pairs in the dock notebook, three things happen:

(1) We prove to ourselves that we overlooked the exit of a buddy pair, not a double drowning.

(2) The lookouts and lifeguards scan swims even more carefully because they don’t want to do an extra LBD.

(3) The campers gain an appreciation of just how important our safety measures are. As a bonus, the campers also get a chance to see how skilled and prepared their leaders are.

I recommend that every youth program with a pool or natural waterfront drill an LBD each week, practice a back boarding each week and conduct an LBD whenever the buddy count is off.

Better drill than doubt.

Dr. Christopher Thurber is the school psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy and the co-founder of Learn more by visiting

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

Related posts:

  1. Lifeguarding Essentials
  2. Buddy Up!
  3. Just Add Water
  4. Waterfront Safety And Preparation
  5. I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.

  • Columns & Features
  • Departments
  • Writers