Cronulla Clubbie’s Top Rescue

Richard Garnsey’s effort to rescue three people in two separate incidents at Cronulla last December was recognised with the Rescue of the Year award at the 2015 Awards of Excellence.

It was fortuitous indeed that the Cronulla SLSC member arrived early to his job as a lifeguard on Friday 12 December. Arriving at the beach just before 7 in the morning he was flagged down by a group of body boarders who told him that a swimmer was in difficulty around a kilometre off shore.

“It’s an honour to be recognised for this rescue. The training that I have received both as a lifesaver and a lifeguard really kicked in and I needed all my skills that day. It was one of those big days with heavy sets that you don’t want to experience too often, but when you do you have to confident in your ability to help,” Mr Garnsey said on Saturday.

“We worked as a team and it’s pleasing we were able to help prevent a dangerous situation.”

After going to the swimmers aid and assisting him back to the safety of the beach, and still out of breath Richard was notified that 2 surfers were drifting off Cronulla Point and appeared to be struggling.

This time Richard alerted his supervisor and paddled back out in the 10 foot swell. When he reached the two surfers – it turned out that they were father and son he realised that they were in deep trouble after their leg ropes had snapped. The pair was clinging onto the one board and neither were particularly strong swimmers.

Richard got the father on his board and got the son to sit tight and paddle next to him. A heavy set crashed through forcing Richard to hold down the father so he wouldn’t come off, while he also urged the son to dive as deep as he could.

The trio battled the surging conditions for over 15 minutes until another lifeguard – John Lavers was able to reach them and in separate attempts eventually manage to return them all to the safety of the beach.

“The seas were about 10 foot and those currents were so strong I knew it was going to be a huge challenge to get out there and get the people in,” Mr Travers said.

The 2015 SLSNSW Awards of Excellence are proudly presented by Stramit Building Products. Almost 350 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, educators, coaches, and administrators from around the state gathered at Sydney’s iconic Four Seasons Hotel for a night of celebration.

For a full list of all the winners and to see photographs from the night please visit the SLSNSW Awards of Excellence Event Page or our social media channels

Photograph - Richard Garnsey and John Travers after being awarded the Rescue of the Year

Mon 31 Aug 2015