Beach To Bush Concludes Successful 2013 Tour

Surf Life Saving NSW’s Beach to Bush program, proudly supported by ClubsNSW, has concluded for another year in which close to 10,000 primary school kids from across the state’s west got a taste of the beach.

In what has now become Surf Life Saving’s largest and most significant educational initiative, sixteen of the state’s finest Surf Lifesavers were involved in seven regional tours visiting 55 primary schools across NSW in areas such as the Riverina, New England and the Northern Tablelands.

With research suggesting that 50% of people rescued from the surf live more than 50km from the beach, the program aims to teach kids from the bush in a fun, interactive and informative manner all about surf and water safety such as swimming between the red and yellow flags, identifying sea creatures and how to spot a rip.

The program wouldn’t be as successful without the dedication and passion of the volunteer Surf Lifesavers who run the tours. With real lifesavers sharing their real stories and experiences of the beach, the kids are able to come away with important surf safety information helping them to safely enjoy their next trip to the beach.

This year our volunteer lifesavers hailed from surf clubs all over the state including Port Macquarie, Coogee, Ocean Beach, Dee Why, North Steyne, Cooks Hill, Queenscliff, Austinmer and Cape Hawke SLSC.

Coogee Surf Lifesaver, Doug Hawkins, who was part of the Riverina tour in the Albury region, says the program is such an important project that extends beyond just the kids that attend on the day.

“With so many of the students indicating that they’ll be visiting beaches up and down the coast for summer, this program will undoubtedly save lives. Students will now go home and talk to their friends and family about what they’ve learnt and the message will spread.

“Most of the things we talk about are simple topics and as lifesavers all of this stuff is second nature but some kids have simply never been exposed to it and that’s what makes this program so special,” said Mr Hawkins.

Ocean Beach Lifesaver, Peter Lambeth, who visited schools in the Upper Hunter, has been involved with the program with his wife and daughter for two years and says he loves being a part of it.

“The biggest feeling I get after leaving a school is the realisation that the kids really had a fun time and enjoyed themselves. When you have kids coming up to you afterwards in the playground asking you more questions about the beach you realise they definitely got something positive out of the program and that’s really rewarding.”

The Beach to Bush Program is the largest and most innovative surf safety education program in Australia, having reached more than 260,000 primary school students since it began in 1994.

To have a look at photos from the 2013 tours please visit the SLSNSW Flickr account or like us on Facebook.

Tue 19 Nov 2013