Local Lifeguards Head Back To School

The beaches of the Port Macquarie/Hastings area aren’t the only places where local lifeguards will make their presence felt in the lead-up to another busy summer.

Lifeguards will be heading to local primary schools in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region throughout term 4 to ensure that the region’s youth are beach-aware leading into the Christmas holidays.

Seasoned lifeguard James Turnham, who is now entering his second summer as Port Macquarie’s Lifeguard Supervisor, has ensured the program continues to provide this vital education since it was introduced back in the early 1990’s by Jamie Martin.

In addition to school theory lessons there has also been the option to attend a practical workshop on the beach which will give student’s the chance to put theory into practice under the watchful eye of the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) professional lifeguards.

Port Macquarie/Hastings Council are strong supporters of the community education program.

Council Group Manager Liam Bulley said “Our community is reaping the rewards from Councils partnership with the ALS, as whilst ensuring the continued protection of beach-goers it has also provided our local professional lifeguards with the opportunity to enhance their skills, experience and career options. With a focus on safety, it’s great to see the ongoing benefit that the schools education program is providing the younger members of our community.”

During the program the students will cover a range of topics including sun safety, the role of lifeguards on the beach, how to recognise all the signs on the beach, and what to do if you get caught in a rip current.

As there is such a diverse range of ages (5-12 year olds) and skill levels, the message is tailored for each audience but always with the emphasis on safety.

“It’s really important that kids get access to this education and as lifeguards it’s something that we enjoy delivering,” said James Turnham who also praised the smooth transition to the Australian Lifeguard Service banner which took place earlier in 2016.

“We couldn’t be happier with how smooth the transition has been. I think the main differences the public are noticing are the change in colour of uniform from blue to red. The internationally recognised uniform colours are certainly making the education message easier for children to understand as the colours the lifeguards now wear are the same as lifesavers on the weekend.

"We started our patrols on our six beaches during the September school holidays and will be running through until the end of April,” he said.

Tips For Keeping Safe At The Beach

•Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
• Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information
• Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water
• Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
•If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
• In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police
• Don’t forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated
• For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App

Photograph - James Turnham introduces the next generation to surf safety

Wed 23 Nov 2016