Pupils from St Joseph's school swapped blackboards for boogie-boards yesterday.
A group of 60 children from the New Plymouth school took part in a beach safety day at Fitzroy Beach.
Principal Mike Dowd said it was planned for all 250 pupils to go through the programme in the next four days.
He said New Zealand had a long coastline and it was vital people had the skills necessary to look after themselves.
The morning was spent working on theory, including how to identify rips, waves, sun safety, life guards and the importance of swimming between the flags, while in the afternoon the kids got to take to the water putting into practice what they had learnt.
Olly Spicer, 10, said it was important people knew how to identify a rip.
"So you don't get caught in a rip and go out to sea."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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