A sea survival programme kept afloat by government funding is helping to save lives in Dunedin.
The ''surf survival'' summer holiday programme is being run over four weeks at Warrington Beach.
Each week, about 20 people, aged between 11 and 17, learnt skills over four days, Warrington Surf Lifesaving Club captain Pru Casey said.
''I'm a schoolteacher and I come across these kids two or three years down the line and the knowledge that they've gained is still there, so it's one less drowning,'' Ms Casey said.
The programme was advertised in schools in Dunedin, Palmerston and on the Taieri. Pupils who would most benefit were chosen to take part.
They were supervised by five lifeguards and learnt survival skills such as keeping warm in freshly dug sand, recognising surf rips, bodysurfing, climbing on rocks using seaweed, and mussel and paua harvesting.
Every pupil had to swim across Blueskin Bay.
Programme head instructor Isaac Davies used local examples to explain how swimmers got in trouble, such as the Columba College pupils caught in a rip off Canoe Beach, near Purakaunui, in March 2013.
The programme was not all at sea. When the day was at its hottest, the pupils walked in the shade of the pine trees to visit a seal.
The programme had run for seven years and it was the second year it had been fully funded by the Ministry of Social Development.
Ms Casey said she hoped the funding would be approved again this year so the programme could return. This was the final week of the programme this summer.