Watersports instruction creates a safe environment for new ocean users to learn various sports. They teach safety, ocean awareness, and respect for the ocean. Every student they teach will have instilled in them fundamental skills for ocean survival. This will enhance the ocean awareness of the population as a whole. Commercial operators have a duty of care to inform and protect their students.
Watersports instructors provide a service as quasi-lifeguards. Their experienced eyes are constantly scanning the ocean for trouble. They identify and diffuse potentially dangerous situations in their environment. They provide information to the public on ocean conditions, whether it is safe to enter at a particular location or time. They advise the public of the more suitable locations for people of varying skill levels, direct people to swim at patrolled beaches. They warn fellow ocean users of dangerous ocean conditions such a rip tides, shallow reefs, snags, submerged hazards, local rules, regulations, and ocean etiquette.
Instructors often directly intervene in emergencies where lifeguards are not present. Watersports instructors save lives, perform rescues, provide resuscitation, CPR, and first aid to victims in offshore emergencies. For example: scuba instructors have provided life support and oxygen to heart attack victims on un-patrolled beaches; Windsurfing instructors perform offshore rescues after the lifeguards go off duty at 3pm; Surf instructors, both on and off duty perform rescues of struggling swimmers or recover drowning victims with their surfboards.