North Bondi Wins National and NSW Rescue of the Month

North Bondi SLSC's Patrol 9 has taken out the National and NSW Rescue of the Month award for March by successfully rescuing 15 people in three metre swell.

On Saturday 7 March at 2:45pm, Patrol 9 performed a major rescue of 15 people from North Bondi Beach in three metre swell where a very strong rip was pulling swimmers out beyond the break.

On what the patrol team dubbed “Big Saturday”, North Bondi SLSC members witnessed both swimmers and surfers who were struggling to return to shore. With the unusually strong rip current pulling them northwards across the beach and out toward the rock platform, the members of Patrol 9 reacted.

The IRB was dispatched immediately, driven by James Fleetwood and crewed by Josh Vernon. The pair manoeuvred the IRB expertly in rough surf conditions and quickly performed numerous rescues, safely depositing people back on shore where they received first aid attention.

During the rescue effort, other patrol members were roving the beach and rock platform communicating with James and Josh via radio, pinpointing exactly where they were needed. Bondi Lifeguard Bruce Hopkins, worked in unison on a rescue board with James and Josh to bring the remaining people back to shore.

The use of the loud-hailer from the shoreline by patrolling members advising and alerting swimmers to the strong rip successfully prevented the need for further rescues. Meanwhile, other members of the patrol waded into waist deep water with rescue tubes to shepherd swimmers to shallow water.

In total, 15 people were rescued and returned to shore. Following the incident, North Bondi SLSC and Waverley Council Lifeguards decided to close the patrol area and relocate the flags further south.

Lifesavers from Patrol 9 demonstrated superb skills and performed very well in a highly stressful situation. While James and Josh did an outstanding job rescuing the majority of swimmers and surfers, it was the whole team working together that brought about a successful outcome.

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.

Mon 4 May 2015