Surf Lifesavers awarded National Rescue Medal at Parliament House, Canberra
Surf lifesavers from South Australia and Queensland have been honoured at Parliament House in Canberra today with Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Rescue Medal for their outstanding rescues this season.
Surf lifesavers from West Beach SLSC in Adelaide in South Australia, as well as Tallebudgera and Pacific SLSC’s on Queensland’s Gold Coast were invited to the nation’s capital to be recognised for their exceptional and selfless service to their local communities as part of SLSA’s Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving event.
The event was attended by the Co-Chairs of Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving, Jason Falinksi MP, Member for Mackellar, and the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Member for Kingsford Smith, as well as Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck along with a host of other Federal Members.
Surf Life Saving Australia’s President, John Baker ESM, said that the National Rescue Medal recognises the incredible and courageous acts of service in saving lives.
“I am incredibly proud and constantly in awe of the commitment and dedication our volunteer Surf Life Saving members have to patrolling our coastlines and helping those in need,” said Baker ESM.
“Two 15-year old’s swimming over kilometre to rescue a 13-year-old, and a co-ordinated mass rescue, demonstrates the diverse range of skills developed and delivered across the country to keep those visiting the beach safe.
“Each year our surf lifesavers perform over 10,000 rescues and today’s recipients are certainly outstanding representatives for our movement and thoroughly deserving of this honour,” added Baker ESM.
Minister Colbeck said the Morrison Government has been a strong supporter of Surf Life Saving Australia, particularly in its efforts to raise awareness about drowning prevention.
“The Australian Government has extended its support for Surf Life Saving programs over the next three years,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Australia’s beaches simply wouldn’t be the same without the efforts of our dedicated surf lifesavers.
“When we see the flags and those uniformed volunteers we know we are in safe hands.”
Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Rescue Medal is a national initiative that recognises the courageous and outstanding achievements our surf lifesavers and members perform on our coastal waterways every single day.
National Rescue Medals
West Beach SLSC – Goolwa Beach
Marcus Morgan and Rhys Highett
It was a 41°C summers day on Sunday, 24 January at the remote Goolwa Beach in South Australia when a 13-year-old boy got into trouble while swimming in the water. Goolwa is very remote and is only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles and has a large surf zone with strong and constantly present rips.
The young boy was swiftly swept out in the ocean by a rip, with the boy’s family on the beach and unable to help as they were also poor swimmers. The family screamed and alerted bystanders to what was happening as well as flagging down some passing 4WD’s.
One of the cars that was flagged down contained two 15-year-old surf lifesavers Marcus Morgan and Rhys Highett, both SRC members of West Beach SLSC. Marcus and Rhys quickly assessed the situation and ran into the water, yelling to notify the bystanders that they were surf lifesavers and that no one else should swim out.
When Marcus and Rhys entered the water, the young boy wasn’t visible from shore. Both surf lifesavers swam out in the rip and break to reach the boy who they found floating on his back, with his face just above the water. Marcus and Rhys estimated that they were 500 metres from shore and began the long swim back towing the boy to shore unassisted by any rescue equipment.
Once they reached the shore, they assessed the boy who was breathing, semi-conscious and responsive, they stayed with him until further assistance arrived at the scene.
Marcus and Rhys swam close to one kilometre to save a boy not much younger than themselves, without any rescue equipment. Their quick response also prevented the further drownings or mass rescue of the inexperienced bystanders who they discouraged from going out into the water.
Tallebudgera SLSC and Pacific SLSC – Tallebudgera Beach
Kyal Thornton, Jared Adamson, Tom Scott, Warren Crane, Joel Crane (Tallebudgera SLSC),
& Scott Burgess (Waverunner 3) & Brent Imrie and Ken Lloyd (Duty Officers) & Michelle Slattery and Regan Hickey (Pacific SLSC)
It was Australia Day when there were multiple people swimming and caught in a rip at Tallebudgera Beach, 100 metres south of the rock wall. Warren Crane immediately radioed for the roving Tallebudgera IRB with the support operations rescue watercraft ‘Waverunner 3’ also nearby and able to respond.
The Tallebudgera SLSC IRB driven by Jared Adamson and crewed by Tom Scott, arrived first on the scene with Scott Burgess on ‘Waverunner 3’ arriving shortly after to seven people struggling in the rip. The IRB transported four patients while the RWC transported three patients on the sled back to shore.
Back on the beach, Surfcom was radioed to call an ambulance as one patient had ingested a lot of water and was losing consciousness. Duty officers arrived on the scene to assist with the incident, while first aid, oxygen and defibrillators were fetched from the patrol set up as neighbouring Pacific SLSC patrol members Michelle Slattery and Regan Hickey arrived on scene in their ATV to assist with the patients.
Scott, Michelle and duty officer Ken Lloyd administered oxygen therapy to assist the patient while waiting for the paramedics to arrive on scene. Before the Queensland Ambulance Service arrived, the patient had stopped breathing and CPR was started by Ken, with the defibrillator applied but no shocked advised. QAS arrived and continued to work with Ken on the patient while all other members of the Tallebudgera and Pacific SLSC continued to manage the scene and identified another patient in need of assistance.
There is little doubt that the patient would have survived without the quick thinking and support provided by the group or the collaboration and coordination between the two neighbouring surf lifesaving clubs, the RWC and the duty officers.