Lifesavers Head Back To The Bush

Thousands of primary school students from inland NSW will soon get the opportunity to take part in vital water safety lessons ahead of summer, when some of the state’s finest surf lifesavers travel to regional NSW.

The Surf Life Saving NSW Beach to Bush program takes place from Monday 11th – Friday 15th November 2013.

The program now into its 20th year began as a result of research conducted by Surf Life Saving Australia, which highlighted that 50% of people rescued from the surf live more than 50km from the beach.

The program has grown significantly since its conception and is now Surf Life Saving’s most significant educational initiative aiming to teach kids a wide range of surf safety tips including general beach safety messages, sun smart strategies, rip and wave identification, sea creatures and first aid, rescues and getting help as well as outlining safety tips for other aquatic environments such as rivers and dams.

This year our qualified surf life savers will travel to eight different regions visiting schools that have registered for the program in the following towns:

1.) Moree, Warialda, Bingara
2.) Albury, Culcairn, Corowa Holbrook
3.) Gundagai, Wagga, Tumut, Batlow, Adelong
4.) Tamworth, Werris Creek, Quirindi, Gunnedah
5.) Glen Innes, Tenterfield, Deepwater
6.) Mudgee, Gulgong, Wellington, Kandos, Rylstone
7.) Orange, Bathurst, Canowindra
8.) Scone, Muswellbrook, Merriwa, Denman, Singleton

SLSNSW Assessor of the Year, Adrienne Lowe (Dee Why SLSC), has been involved in the program for many years and says that not only does it teach kids important surf safety messaging, it is heaps of fun along the way.

“It may look odd for Surf Life Savers to take a rescue board, rescue tube, mock bluebottles and full patrol uniform into rural NSW and yes, we get quite a few looks and the odd joke about being lost, however, statistics show that children who live inland are often at higher risk than coastal children because they are less familiar and unaware of surf dangers. This educational program goes a long way to reducing those statistics.

“We were well looked after with hundreds of kids offering to carry our gear to and from the car, and we were welcomed by the local community. We would encourage all schools to accept the offer to be a part of a Beach to Bush tour,” said Adrienne.

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.

Professor David Currow, Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW said the organisation is proud to be supporting Beach To Bush for 2013.

“This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for kids who live away from the coast to have fun while learning about surf and sun safety.

“Whether kids are at the beach, in the playground or playing sport – getting into the habit of protecting young skin from the sun properly will have lifelong benefits. The sun damage to your skin that leads to skin cancer accumulates over time, so it is especially important that school children across NSW learn these sun safety skills to reduce their risk.”

Schools will be contacted in the next few weeks inviting them to sign up to the program. If your school is in one of the areas above and you would like to participate in the program, please contact Pamela Simon on 02 9471 8000.

Mon 26 Aug 2013