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Emma Leggett-Budden hails from Bungan Beach Surf Life Saving Club. She recently invented a solution to help IRB crews move outboard motors safely. She is one of our inspirational members we're profiling this week as part of National Volunteer Week 2020.

How long have you been involved with Surf Life Saving, and what club are you currently a member of? 

In total, 13 years. Firstly as a Nipper from five years old and then I got my SRC at Warriewood and then moved to Bungan Beach as a patrolling member and Surf Captain for Barker College.

What was it that triggered you to join a club? Was it a defining moment and reason? 

My parents initially registered me as a member but later I decided to continue because Warriewood has such a great community spirit and I enjoyed being involved both socially and in the surf carnivals. It is a great way to stay fit and challenge yourself.  

Have you performed or been part of a rescue? No matter big or small why was it significant for you, describe it. 

No, luckily I have been fortunate to have never had to be called on myself - other than in a training or practice simulation.

What's one of the most inspirational or memorable things that you've witnessed either within your club or on patrol? 

There are two moments that stand out to me which represent the role that Surf Life Saving plays in our community.

Firstly, while I was helping with water safety I was always inspired by watching some of the younger nippers overcome their fears of the water to do their first ocean swims and it was amazing to work with them to help them build up their confidence and see how proud they were of themselves afterwards. Secondly, the bravery and strength of one of our club members who at only 18, swam out in some of the most dangerous surf conditions I have ever seen in an attempt to rescue someone who had jumped off the blowhole at Warriewood.

What are some of the initiatives you've been proud to be part of?

Competing at many local and state surf carnivals, getting my Bronze Medallion and helping with water safety.  

Tell us about your creation of the Ezylift. 

Ezy-lift is an IRB engine carrier that can transport an engine from the storage rack on the wall of the surf club shed to the transom on the engine of the IRB safely and efficiently. My design was created to reduce the number of lifesavers required to transfer the engine whilst eliminating any risk of back injuries that may currently be experienced through awkward movements, poor communication between those carrying the engine or injuries that could result from hazards in the shed that may cause tripping or slipping in the surf club shed.

My innovation differs from existing designs as it involves reversing the engine mount on the trolley so that it no longer required any manual rotations in order to be fitted to the wall or transom and installing a hydraulic lift that could mechanically lift and lower the engine reduces the need for any manual lifting or adjusting at any point in the process. That resulted in a more efficient process which only requires 1 person (even a child) and a safer process for the user as well as the engine as there is no longer a requirement for manual lifting.

Emma's Ezy Lift for IRB Motors

Why is volunteering as a surf lifesaver important to you? Why do you continue to do it?

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and stay connected to a great group of people.

What does it mean to you as a surf lifesaver to be changing communities and changing lives?

It is a great feeling to have designed and built something that makes the role of a being lifesaver easier. My dad has been a volunteer at Warriewood for almost 13 years and gives so much of his time to lifesaving so when he told me about the problem I wanted to help fix it to give something back to the club and to all of the members who volunteer so much of their time.

What’s one word to describe the feeling you get from being a surf lifesaver?


National Volunteer Week is a time to acknowledge the people of Australia who generously donate their time to help better the lives of others. Surf lifesavers are some of the most dedicated and outstanding volunteers who really do change communities and change lives. 

Thank you to all NSW volunteer surf lifesavers for your dedication, service and passion.

Volunteering Australia is inviting everyone to put their hand up and thank volunteers around Australia by waving a special smile of appreciation from home. Upload your wave photo to social media and share using the hashtags #NVW2020 and #waveforvolunteers.


Wednesday 20 May 2020