SurfCom Week Profile: Katie Dixon

At 32 years of age Ocean Beach volunteer surf lifesaver Katie Dixon ticks all the boxes, dedicating a huge amount of her time to various surf lifesaving activities.

Name: Katie Dixon

Age: 32

Club: Ocean Beach SLSC

Occupation: Cancer Institute NSW Fellow and Lecturer at University of Sydney

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why? I joined SLS as a nipper. I tagged along with my best friend who is still a member of my patrol team.

Why are you a volunteer SurfCom operator? I started when SurfCom Avoca opened, just for something different and to gain new experience in the behind-the-scenes management of incidents. I have continued ever since.

How many hours in total (not just this season) have you volunteered for SurfCom? Approximately 390.25, not including patrol hours.

What do you enjoy most about being an operator? It is always a good feeling to know you have made a difference to someone’s life in an emergency situation – whether it is being the calm voice at the other end of the radio, providing reassurance that help is on its way, or helping a stressed duty officer. The busy shifts go quickly and the quiet shifts are good for internet surfing. The variation in work always makes for an interesting day – I could be calling an ambulance one minute and calling a snake catcher the next.

In what other ways are you involved in Surf Lifesaving? Director of Lifesaving at Ocean Beach, Manager Support Services and Duty Officer for SLS Central Coast, member of SLSNSW Coastal Radio Network Panel, member of SLSA Education and Development Advisory Committee, patrol captain, training officer, competitor and coach.

Who is someone you admire in the Surf Life Saving movement and why? Suzanne Young. She is an inspirational role model for female leaders in surf lifesaving. She has managed a busy career, raised a family, held many roles in SLS and is always willing to share her wisdom with our future leaders. She has excelled in absolutely everything she sets her mind to.

Anything else you’d like to add or advice you have for people thinking about becoming an operator? It’s not just for the indoorsy types. It is a great opportunity for active surf lifesavers to get experience in incident management. As a patrol captain, I feel more confident on the beach because I know exactly what is going on behind-the-scenes. The technology side of it is not daunting at all.

Fri 28 Nov 2014