Lifesavers Swap Patrol Caps For The Classroom

Thousands of NSW country primary school students will this week get a taste of the beach from the perspective of a real lifesaver without having to leave the comfort of their classroom.

Approximately 6,000 primary aged students and 50 schools will participate in the 23rd edition of the highly popular ‘Beach to Bush’ program.

A range of schools host visits for the 2016 program with the smallest school Warialda in Moree hosting just 12 students in comparison to Mudgee Public School with its 622 pupils making it the largest stop on this year’s calendar.

The five-day annual program sees volunteer lifesavers leave the beach for a road trip to remember as they head to regional areas around the state spreading the message of beach and water safety in a fun and innovative way.

Over the years thousands of regional kids have been introduced to the basics of surf education and given tips on how to stay safe at the beach.

Volunteer presenters come from a diverse range of surf clubs across NSW from as far as Brunswick on the Far North Coast and Kiama in the south. All share a passion for both Surf Life Saving and education and are looking forward to taking their message of safety on the road.

Surf Life Saving NSW Beach to Bush spokesperson Chris O’Rorke is anticipating another successful program.

“Beach to Bush has proved to be an effective educational program over many years, and I know it is something that all our volunteer presenters look forward to taking part in each year,” Mr O’Rorke said.

“It allows them to get on the road and share their love and passion of lifesaving while also helping to spread the message of surf safety to the next generation. Educating all children, regardless of geography is an important part of our strategy to keep the beachgoing public safe.”

Leading into the summer holidays is an ideal time to talk to children as many regional families travel to the coast to spend time together or visit relatives over the festive season, and after last year where 53 drowning deaths were recorded in NSW coastal waters educating the next generation is of crucial importance.

Some of the topics that are covered in the program include the role of the lifesaver, how to spot a rip current, what to do if you get into trouble at the beach and the different types of marine life that can be found along the coast.

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.

2016 Beach To Bush Tour Locations:

Tour 1: Casino Region
Tour 2: Moree Region
Tour 3: Gloucester Region
Tour 4: Temora – West Wyalong – Grenfell Regions
Tour 5: Mudgee Region
Tour 6: Albury Region
Tour 7: Canberra Region

Photograph - Lifesavers talk to a enthralled audience at a school visit during the 2015 Beach to Bush program.

Tue 22 Nov 2016