Bush kids learn lessons on beach safety

There were plenty of laughs, jokes, and lessons learned all-round as a group of volunteer lifesavers took their message of beach safety to the children of the bush.

Earlier this month, around 15,000 primary aged students from inland NSW and the ACT participated in the 2014 Beach to Bush program that was conducted by volunteer lifesavers.

The lifesavers travelled around eight different regions delivering their message of safety in a fun and innovative way.

One of these volunteers was Phillip Boxsell from MacMasters Beach SLSC. In the space of three days he visited seven schools, conducted 19 sessions, and travelled to towns including Cooma, Michelago, Jerangle, Bredbo, Numeralla, and Canberra.

Mr Boxsell said there were plenty of humorous moments during his time on the road, and he even managed to learn some tips from the kids about dealing with sharks.

“I was told that I was too old to be a lifesaver! But one of the best conversations was when I was asked what to do if attacked by a shark.

“One child said punch it in the nose, another argued that you poke it in the eye. A third one said well you could poke a shark in the eye but it wouldn’t do anything because they have now grow a bone over their eye for protection.”

“It was a wonderful experience with the kids, and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Mr Boxsell said.

“The kids all listened, and were keen to share their own stories. Many of these kids live within a couple of hours of a beach, and visit for holidays with their families so they were very responsive to the key messages we were trying to deliver.”

Some of the messages that were discussed during the presentation included general beach safety m sun smart strategies, rip and wave identification, sea creatures, first aid, rescues and getting help. Students were also given safety tips about other aquatic environments much more familiar to them such as rivers and dams.

The Beach to Bush Program, supported by ClubsNSW, is the largest and most innovative surf safety education program in Australia, having reached more than 270,000 primary school students since it began in 1994.

Wed 26 Nov 2014