An interview with two lifesavers in Agia Marina

What are your names?

Stamatakis Yorgos and Souris Yorgos. (Note: Yorgos is George in Greek)

Crete, Agia Marina

Have you worked for a long time as lifesavers?

Stamatakis Yorgos: This is the first year that I work as a lifesaver. I used to do it in the past too but it was on a volunteer basis.

Souris Yorgos: No, I have also worked for two years in Rethymnon beach.

Does the sea get often dangerous here in Agia Marina?

Stamatakis Yorgos: When the weather is bad, I mean when there are high north winds blowing, then there are strong currents and big waves. In this case we do not allow people to swim far away from the beach.

Crete, Agia Marina

Are Greek people in danger more often than tourists?

Stamatakis Yorgos: I think that the same applies to all. I don’t think that people from a certain country are “worse” swimmers.

Have you ever saved someone?

Stamatakis Yorgos: This is my first year here and I am glad that there has not been such an emergency yet.

Souris Yorgos: It has not happened to me in Agia Marina either, but in the two years that I used to work in Rethymnon we had faced thirty emergencies.

Are there always two lifesavers present in this part of Agia Marina beach?

This is a windy day and the wind is likely to get stronger later in the day. Besides, it is Sunday and we expect a lot of swimmers to be here today.

Is there a lifesaver’s school that you have graduated from?

Souris Yorgos: I was trained in a school in Rethymnon. The school is supported by the Municipality of Rethymnon and it lasts 2 months.

Is it hard to become a lifesaver?

Souris Yorgos: It is necessary for someone to be a very good swimmer and very fit. I exercise daily and I am a 3 km (2 miles) racer too.

Crete, Agia Marina

How do people respond to your instructions? What is your relationship with people?

Stamatakis Yorgos: People have not realized the importance of a lifesaver’s profession yet. They have not realized that we are responsible for their safety and it is not unusual for some people to ignore our instructions. Sometimes we advise someone for his own safety but then he/she ignores us or even laughs at us. I think that more time is needed for people to appreciate what we try to do for them.

Souris Yorgos: I also agree with Yorgos. However it is very impressive how people’s attitude changes when they experience an emergency. As soon as they see a lifesaver saving someone then they respect us and follow our advice.

Your position is high above the beach and I am sure that many people will notice you too. Are there many girls admiring you?

Stamatakis Yorgos (laughing): Well, it happens occasionally…

Explore Crete: Thanks a lot for this valuable information and I wish you a pleasant summer without any emergencies.

Stamatakis Y. and Souris Y.: We also thank you. Have a nice summer too!

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