Surf Patrol Season Extended in NSW

Volunteer Surf Lifesavers will continue to patrol beaches in NSW throughout the long winter months, after a survey of surf clubs overwhelmingly indicated the desire to ‘work through’ the off-season.

President of Surf Life Saving NSW, Tony Haven, said lifesavers had done such a fantastic job over summer that most wanted to keep the momentum going.

“We are a ‘can do’ movement and our volunteers just want to see the red and yellow flags continue to fly,” said Tony Haven.

“To many of us ‘summer’ is more of a concept really and a lot of our people can’t wait to get up pre-dawn, don their red and yellows, brush the ice from the rescue board and huddle under the patrol tent, with only the promise of a sausage sanger to keep them warm.”

Surf Life Saving has rejected the idea that volunteers might be looking for a break after clocking up more than 600,000 patrol hours and performing almost 5000 rescues since the start of the season last September.

“I don’t think a lot of our volunteers would know what to do with themselves if they weren’t on patrol. It’s not as if things like footy, going skiing or hanging out with mates is much fun is it!” laughed Tony Haven.

Also rejecting the suggestion that there would be very little activity on the beach during winter, Andrew Edmunds, Patrol Captain at Broulee surf club in the state’s far south, said there was more than enough action to keep his volunteers busy.

“Look it’s all go here pretty much year round,” said Broulee SLSC’s Andrew Edmunds. “Just the other day we had a stray Maltese Terrier get into strife in the stormwater drain at the southern end of the beach and only a day later, we had to help some bloke who’d lost his keys outside the men’s toilet.

“If we weren’t there, I don’t like to think about what could have happened. We averted a tragedy, yes, but our guys don’t do it for the glory or bravery awards, we do it because we’ve made a vow to the community – not on our watch.”

Surf Life Saving NSW said it was grateful to clubs for putting their hand up to continue patrols through winter and indicated there could well be incentives offered to volunteers to make it even more attractive.

“We’ve been in serious discussions with the ATO for instance, over the possibility of making woollen beanies tax deductable. Rewarding our members for their efforts in real, tangible ways like this is the least we can do,” said Tony Haven.

This press release expires after, 1 April 2015.

Wed 1 Apr 2015