NSW Lifesavers Honoured With Meritorious Awards

Ten lifesavers from across the state were recognised for their exceptional efforts in saving a life, receiving Meritorious Awards at the Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence.

Voted by a special committee, the Meritorious Award is given to those lifesavers that have been deemed to have gone above and beyond the call of duty while performing a rescue.

The ten individuals were involved in six different major incidents during the 2012/13 season.

Cronulla lifesaver Michael Banister was recognised for his efforts in rescuing six people in a rip at North Cronulla with an old bodyboard while off duty.

“I’m really grateful and truly humbled that somebody would actually nominate me for this because as a clubbie or a lifeguard your always ‘on-duty’ in the back of your mind and I knew that group of people were getting themselves in trouble so I acted as quick as I could,” said Michael.

Off duty surf lifesaver Andrew Mizzi from Broulee Surfers was recognised for his exceptional effort in saving the lives of two people.

After witnessing a kayak capsize with two people on board, Andrew swam 500 metres across a channel and ran a further 400 metres entering messy surf conditions to retrieve an unconscious patient using no equipment. He then had the strength and fitness to perform lifesaving CPR and then drag the patient to a waiting rescue boat, only 1 week after gaining his Bronze Medallion.

“I am so humbled to receive this award. I feel embarrassed because people do things like this every day without recognition. I just want to thank my instructors Mick Lambert and Peter Halpin. They are amazing and take time away from their families to volunteer for Surf Life Saving. What they taught me was literally lifesaving.”

When it comes down to it, it’s not about the instructors and it’s not about us, it’s about the people on the beach,” said Andrew.

Other recipients of Meritorious Awards included Woolgoolga lifesaver Anika Morgan, recognised for her outstanding efforts in undertaking a mass rescue, saving four Korean tourists from a rip at Woolgoolga Beach and Toby Adams of North Wollongong who along with his father, successfully rescued two female snorkelers caught in a rip.

Nippers Declan Tancred, William Hardy and Beau Jeffries of Avoca Beach were each recognised with an Individual Certificate of Merit for their assistance in a rescue where two patients were swept off rocks. The patients were supported by a ski paddler who then called on the three boys, who were board training in preparation for their Surf Rescue Certificate. The boys abandoned their boards to help the jetski in transporting the patients back to shore.

The Ballina Jet Boat crew of Bradley Heard, Mark Puglisi and Gary Murphy received a Group Certificate of Merit as well as Individual Certificates of Merit with Silver Insert for their assistance in rescuing two vessels in distress at the mouth of the Richmond River at Ballina. Facing swells of over 2m, the crew undertook night operations to locate and rescue the four crew of the Marine Rescue vessel, which had capsized whilst responding to a motor cruiser in trouble. Upon retrieval, Ballina Jet Boat successfully manoeuvred through the surf zone and beached the boat at Shelley Beach.

A big congratulations to award recipients who have demonstrated an excellence in lifesaving.

Fri 1 Nov 2013