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About 70 12-to-16-year-olds are taking part in the three-day training camp this week.
Surf Life Saving Otago district manager Phil Hudson said it was hoped the course would help bridge the gap between junior and senior life-savers.
"There is a big drop off from juniors. This [course] gives them extra skills and ability."
The course began with some beginners' techniques on rescue boards and would involve training on surf skis and surf swimming.
"It'll give the younger ones skills to work on until they are old enough to get their lifeguard award," Mr Hudson said.
It also enabled the older surf life-savers to pass on their skills.
Interest in the course had been overwhelming, with people asking that it be held every year, he said.