Coast Lifesavers Take Surf Safety Message Bush

“We’re here to keep you safe at the beach” – that’s the message a group of Central Coast Surf Lifesavers were keen to pass on to school students in rural NSW during the annual Beach to Bush educational tour late last month.

Almost 13,000 children aged between 5 and 12 attended one of 120 presentations from areas as far away as Gunnedah and Leeton during this year’s tour.

The Central Coast was well represented with Louise, Peter, and Isabel Lambeth (Ocean Beach SLSC) being joined on the road by Phill Boxsell (MacMasters Beach SLSC) and the Avoca Beach SLSC duo of Lindsay Cunningham and Paul Meade.

The Lambeth’s headed inland talking to students in Armidale, Guyra and Dorrigo, while Phill Boxsell joined his father Jim Saunders, a Life Member at Yamba SLSC to visit schools in Quirindi, Gunnedah and Narrabri.

There were plenty of laughs along the way as students received tips on everything from how to recognise a rip, perform basic first aid, and the role of the surf lifesaver in keeping them safe while they’re at the beach.

“I have never been on Beach to Bush before so one of the highlights for me was to see the keen interest and enthusiasm on display by both the school kids as well as staff during our week away,” said Paul Meade who along with Lindsay Cunningham has just returned from visiting schools around Lithgow and Bathurst.

“The kids asked a lot of good questions pertaining to beach safety, and hopefully will now have knowledge they can use when they travel to beach destinations during the upcoming Christmas holidays,” he said.

Lindsay Cunningham was also a rookie presenter and felt that the children really engaged with the safety message that they were trying to convey.

“The children we engaged with were confident, curious, sharp, very interested and aware in general terms of water safety,” he said.

“Everyone had a story about bluebottles, and sharks and we were surprised to learn that about 10 percent of the kids are yet to visit a beach.”

Surf Life Saving NSW Community Education Officer Stacey Pidgeon paid tribute to the dedicated volunteers who gave up their time to present the Beach to Bush Program.

“It really is a unique program in its delivery and the way we can educate so many children at the one time. I would really like to thank the presenters who gave up their valuable time to help deliver these vital safety messages.

“By all reports they had a fantastic time out on the road and the kids really gained something out of it as well,” Ms Pidgeon said.

The Beach to Bush Program, supported by ClubsNSW and the NSW Cancer Institute, 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.

The 2015 Beach to Bush Program ran from November 23-27 and visited the following locations;

Inverell, Glen Innes, Grafton, Armidale, Guyra, Dorrigo, Walcha, Bendemeer, Manilla, Bingara, Uralla, Quirindi Gunnedah, Narrabri, Lithgow Region, Goulburn Region, Wagga Wagga Region, Narrandera, Griffith, Leeton and Coolamon.

Photograph - Lindsay Cunningham and Paul Meade during the 2015 Beach to Bush Program

Fri 4 Dec 2015