Cronulla Lifesaver Awarded NSW Rescue Of The Month

A Lifesaver from Cronulla SLSC in the Sydney region has been awarded the State rescue of the Month for December 2014 after completing two rescues in over 10ft conditions.

On Friday 12 December at around 6:45am, Richard Garnsey rescued a swimmer caught in a rip and also rescued two surfers in surf up to 10ft 1km off Cronulla Beach.

Richard Garnsey who is a member of Cronulla SLSC and a Sutherland Shire Council Lifeguard arrived to work early and was advised by a group of body boarders that a swimmer was in trouble at the southern end of the beach in a large rip.

Richard radioed to his supervisor that he was about to perform a rescue and immediately after the call raced in to help the man who was battling 5-6ft conditions. The swimmer was brought back to shore safely but was a little shocked and out of breath.

After returning from the rescue, Richard was notified about two males drifting off Cronulla Point waving for help, which was around 500m out to sea. Richard notified his supervisor of this rescue and headed out to tackle the treacherous conditions.

Once Richard paddled through 10ft offshore swell, the lifesaver still had around 800m until he reached the drifting men. During this time the supervisor had arrived and told lifeguard John Lavers (Cronulla SLSC member) to come from Wanda and assist on the RWC.

By this time Richard had made it to the father and son who were not great swimmers and were holding onto one board thinking they would drown. Richard then put the father on his board whilst the son paddled next to on his surf board. Another set rolled in and Richard told the son to dive as deep as he could while Richard jumped on the back of the father and held on to the handles of the rescue board.

The three of them were now around 1km off shore and after 15 minutes were still fighting the massive swell. John finally arrived and firstly took the father back to shore and soon after returned to pick up the son. While this was happening Richard toughed out the waves and paddled closer to shore where he met John to safely take him back to the beach.

The whole rescue lasted over 30 minutes and without the professional manner and skills shown by Richard Garnsey and all of the Council lifeguards on this incident could have turned out very different in many ways.

The SLSNSW Rescue of the Month aims to recognise excellence in lifesaving. Each month a ‘Rescue of the Month’ is awarded at State level for the most outstanding rescue performance for that period. Monthly winners have the chance to win the Australian Rescue of the Month and become finalists for the SLSNSW Rescue of the Year which is presented at the annual Awards of Excellence.

For official citations and past recipients please visit the Rescue of the Month Recognition Page.

Fri 23 Jan 2015