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Powercraft play a vital role in rescues especially on the Far South Coast where emergency callouts can often be tasked to remote locations.

It may be one of the smallest branches in the state with only seven surf clubs, but the NSW Branch of the Year is leading the way with innovative training and search and rescue collaborations.

Just last weekend the combined callout teams, duty officers and powercraft award holders spent two days at Tathra SLSC for advanced powercraft training.

More than 40 surf lifesavers including five trainers, coaches and facilitators travelled from as far as North Cronulla, Maroubra and South Maroubra to be part of the weekend.

Surf Life Saving Far South Coast Director of Lifesaving Cheryl McCarthy said it was a great way to kick off the season and make sure all clubs operators were on the same page.

“It was a refresher weekend for Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) and jetski proficiencies and for the first time we included drones as well,” said Cheryl.

“Everyone really benefits from these training events. Our clubs are so spread out that we don’t get many opportunities to get together and work in with the same techniques. Training together makes us much stronger together especially when we have to come together for big critical incidents and search and rescues.”

The branch has had great success integrating UAVs (drones) into its patrol and callout operations including being called on by the Police to assist with remote search and rescue incidents.

“We decided to include our UAV pilots this year for a refresher and to get some air-time. The Branch UAV coordinator Connor Leayr also ran a session for the community,” said Cheryl.

The branch invited people who are not Surf Life Saving members to come and learn about the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone program and how they can train and join up as members without having to complete a Bronze Medallion.

Out on the beach there was a lot of work done on technique as well as patient pickups in the surf, rock entries and maneuverability for rescues as well as search pattern training and scenario. “It was really the best opportunity for everyone to gain more advanced skills, tips and tricks, motor maintenance and trouble shooting that you don’t do with the initial training,“ said Cheryl.

After such a successful weekend the members have expressed interest in ensuring similar weekends happen throughout the year. “Everyone was pretty happy how the weekend worked out. We are already planning another opportunity for people who gain awards throughout the season,” said Cheryl. 


Friday 25 October 2019