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Sean Bond has taken his love of the ocean to a whole new level – it’s now a crucial aspect of his burgeoning career.

The 19-year old’s passion for salt water, for many years, saw him volunteering through his local surf club, Coogee SLSC, in as many roles as he could find the time for. Through the club, he built bonds and learned skills that will last a lifetime.

Life has taken him in a different direction for now – he has recently secured the position of Search and Rescue Visual Observer with Cobham Search and Rescue Services Pty Ltd, based in Melbourne – but the distance is only physical. Emotionally, he’s still running along the sand in Sydney’s southeast.

It’s there, from the age of seven, that he slowly moulded into the man he is today; confident, courageous and, most importantly, surf safe.

These attributes, learned through years as a Nipper and then a volunteer surf lifesaver, gave him the tools to be prepared for his latest journey.

“Going to patrol and Nippers every day since I was young, in the ocean is where I shone,” he said.

“All the way through the off season I was training, doing competitions – surf never stopped for me all year round.

“That surf safety and surf awareness, it’s drilled into you from a young age and you’re completely aware of it, so that’ll be important [in the new role].

“Searching techniques in the water, communication skills, these are all things I’m across and they’ve been part of the training I’ve been doing for this job, so I’ve had a leg up with the prior experience I bring.”

As a member of the team at Cobham, Sean will contribute to the provision of surveillance, intelligence, and search and rescue services across Australia via the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Expected to average 80 hours of flight time each year, he is looking forward to the challenge.

“With search and rescue there’s never really a general trend – summer picks up I guess but you never know when someone needs to be rescued,” Sean mused.

Being prepared for the unexpected – just another way Sean’s love of lifesaving and his career trajectory ride in tandem.

While for many, the trying nature of a job of this kind would naturally draw them away from their previous life, Sean has no intention of letting go of his roots.

“I said to the guys I’m not leaving, I’ll be coming back,” he said.

“I knew search and rescue was where I was destined to be, and surf played a big part in my choices.

“I met all my best friends through the surf club, we patrolled and did everything together. I don’t want to lose that.”

Thursday 18 November 2021