Brief History of Lifesaving in Hong Kong


Before World War II

Lifesaving training and examination system were introduced into Hong Kong by the British Military and expatriate officers from the Hong Kong Police Force.

1943 - 1955
Superintendent HUNT, Superintendent BOWER, Chief Police Inspector OLIVER, Messrs HON Chi-hoi, Francis X. LOO and Henri KWOK Hon-ming were the pioneers of lifesaving examinations in Hong Kong . Mr. LOO was further appointed as the Hon. Representative by the Royal Life Saving Society, United Kingdom (RLSS UK ).

The Hong Kong Life Guard Club (HKLGC) was established on 17 February 1956. In the same year, Mr. Henri KWOK Hon-ming became the first Hong Kong member who passed the Diploma of the Royal Life Saving Society (DipRLSS).

The Royal Life Saving Society, Hong Kong Branch (RLSS HKB) was established on 19 October 1960. Hong Kong Government began to recognize the status of RLSS HKB. RLSS HKB had the sole right to examine RLSS UK Awards and Certificates in Hong Kong .

The World Life Saving (WLS) was established. Hong Kong joined as one of the founder members.

The second Hong Kong person, Dr. Patrick YEUNG Che-to, passed the Diploma of the Royal Life Saving Society.

Asia Pacific Life Saving Council was established and the first conference was held in Hong Kong .

The Hong Kong Room, in Mountbatten House at Studley , UK was donated by the HKLGC to commemorate Lord Mountbatten for his achievement in organizing lifesaving movement in Hong Kong .

Examiners from the Surf Life Saving Association Australia visited Hong Kong and held the Power Boat Rescue Course. Teams that successfully passed the examination were from Hong Kong , Singapore , Macau, Chinese Taipei and China . Since then, Hong Kong gained valuable experience in Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) and began to promote these fast and effective lifesaving techniques in Hong Kong.

An International Life Saving Authority which was called International Life Saving Federation (ILS) was established. The establishment of the ILS had been regarded as the greatest achievement in the history of lifesaving in the world. This was because of the combination of two big Life Saving Organizations: World Life Saving (WLS) and Federation International De Sauvetage Aquatique (FIS). Hong Kong was admitted as one of the Full Members. Nowadays, the ILS is divided into four regions, they are Africa Region, America Region, Asia Pacific Region, and Europe Region.

The Hong Kong Life Guard Club was renamed as The Hong Kong Life Saving Society (HKLSS).

HKLSS set up its own lifesaving examination syllabi & regulations, and issued a series of lifesaving awards and certificates.

After the change of sovereignty, the Full Membership Status of HKLSS was confirmed by the ILS. ILS set up several International Certificates. These certificates have to be examined by the Education Commission under the ILS. The Education Commission of ILS consists of seven members. The Chief Examiner of HKLSS, Dr. Patrick YEUNG Che-to was elected as a member of this Commission.

Professional Instructor of Hawaiian Lifeguard Association visited Hong Kong and taught the “First Asia Pacific Jet Ski Rescue Training Camp”, Teams successfully passed the examination were from Hong Kong , China , Japan , Chinese Taipei and Macau . This training was recognized by the ILS as the first formal jet ski rescue training in the world.

Mr. Norman Farmer, the Chairman of Education Commission of the ILS visited Hong Kong to conduct the “First International Referee (Still Water) Training Course”. Teams that successfully passed the examination were from Hong Kong , China , Chinese Taipei, Japan and Macau . Graduates registered as International Life Saving Referee to promote the lifesaving competition in Hong Kong and all over the world.

The Hong Kong Life Saving Delegation participated in the National Life Saving Championships which was held at Fu Zhou , China . The results are encouraging. Our Delegation got 1 st Runner-up in Men's group, Women's group and Mixed Group from over ten provincial delegations.

To be in line with the international qualification of lifesaving, the HKLSS implemented the “Lifeguarding Project” during the three years from 2000 to 2002 in order to upgrade the lifeguard standard in Hong Kong . Through the execution of the new lifeguard credentials, the concept of “lifesaver” and “lifeguard” as well as the differentiation of “pool rescue” and “open water rescue” were introduced.

Recognized by the ILS, “2 nd ILS International Referee (Open Water) Training Course and 2 nd Asia Pacific Jet Ski Rescue Training Camp” was held in Hong Kong . Teams successfully passed the examinations were from Hong Kong , China , Chinese Taipei, Macau , Japan and Singapore .

Dr Patrick YEUNG Che-to was elected as Board of Director of the ILS. He was the first Chinese in the World for this position.

The HKLSS become the member of Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China.

The HKLSS and Surf Life Saving Association Australia (SLSA) jointly organized the first “International Lifesaving Competition Coach Course”, which was conducted by Mr. Peter Kirkwood and Ms. Danya Hodgetts from SLSA. The participating countries were Hong Kong , China , Chinese Taipei, Singapore and Macau .

An “ILS Asia Pacific Lifeguarding Update and AED Trainer Course” was held in Hong Kong . The course was conducted by Ms. Barbara BROADBELT of the RLSS UK. Participating countries included Hong Kong , China , Chinese Taipei, Japan , Singapore and Macau .

The HKLSS and European Resuscitation Council (ERC) jointly organized the “ERC Basic Life Support and Automated External Defibrillation Provider and Instructor Course”. The Course was conducted by the ERC Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony J. HANDLEY, MD FRCP and other doctors from relevant fields.

The Hong Kong Lifesaving Team got the Overall Champion of the National Lifesaving Championships out of the nine participating provinces.

In the celebration of the HKLSS Golden Jubilee, the ILS Asia Pacific Life Saving Conference and Asian Life Saving (Pool) Championships were held in Hong Kong . Apart from the ILS President Mr Alan B. WHELPTON, AM, and Regional Presidents including General Dr. Mohamed Yousery DAWOUD (Africa), Mr. B. Chris BREWSTER (America), Mr. Robert BRADLEY (Asia Pacific), Dr. Klaus WILKENS (Europe), many lifesaving countries had come to support the HKLSS, including Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Macau China, New Zealand, Singapore, and United Kingdom.

The Hong Kong Lifesaving Delegation got 3 silvers and 6 bronzes in the Arafura games in Australia .

With the support of the ILS Asia Pacific Region, a delegation comprised of the Vice-Chairman and Chief Examiner of the HKLSS Dr. Patrick YEUNG Che-to (also the ILS BOD and ILS Asia Pacific Regional Vice-President), Grade One Examiner Mr. Patrick LEE and AFA Assessor Mr Peter Nigel HUNG visited Vietnam for the development of lifesaving.