Three groups of Surf Lifesavers have today been officially recognised for their selfless efforts to save the lives of beachgoers as part of the Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving Update at Parliament House in Canberra.
The National Rescue of the Month Award was presented to 12 members of North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) patrol four, Cooks Hill SLSC Surf Lifesaver Mark Doherty and Kurrawa SLSC Surf Lifesaver Rachael Eddy.
Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and local member for Moncrieff, Steve Ciobo MP, alongside local member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird MP and local member of Newcastle, Sharon Claydon MP attended the Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) event to present the awards alongside Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving co-chairs Sarah Henderson MP and the Honourable Matt Thistlethwaite MP.
“Without the quick-thinking, knowledge, experience and leadership of these volunteer surf lifesavers, there may have been a very different outcome for these beachgoers.
“Last year Surf Life Saving volunteers made over 13,000 rescues, and these three stories are a testament to their commitment to the ethos of the Surf Life Saving movement. It also highlights just how quick things can change in the ocean and how important it is to be aware of your ability in the aquatic environment”Our surf lifesavers are everyday Australian’s who care enough to give up their time to watch over others, said Mr Jacobson.
On Monday 2 January, North Wollongong Surf Lifesavers successfully recovered four swimmers near the rocks at North Wollongong Beach. A man had slipped off the rocks, and his friends got in trouble trying to help him. The patrol members launched an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB), and two others went out with a rescue tube and a rescue board. They successfully returned the four swimmers to shore. Three were given oxygen by the surf lifesavers and they were then taken to hospital by paramedics. All made full recoveries.
Cooks Hill SLSC patrol captain Mark Doherty had completedpatrol on Sunday 12 February 2017, and was going to debrief his team. As he entered the clubrooms he was notified of two children caught in a rip on the south end of the Bar Beach. He entered the water to secure the children and noticed their father who had attempted to save them was stuck too. Doherty paddled into shore with the two children on the rescue board with the father hanging onto the side. Once on shore safely Mark gave them safety advice explaining the danger of rip currents and encouraging them in future to swim between the flags.
On the afternoon of 4 March 2017 Kurrawa SLSC surf lifesaver Rachael Eddy had signed off her patrol, and commenced her evening shift upstairs at the Kurrawa Bistro. At around 6:45pm a family rushed upstairs yelling that two of their family members were in trouble in the ocean. Rachael’s bistro colleges were aware she was a volunteer surf lifesaver and alerted her to the situation. She got a rescue board from the Club and went out into the ocean fully clothed to rescue the two swimmers. She successfully paddled in both patients, checked they were stable and handed them over to the paramedics.
The next Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving will be held on the 7th of September 2017.