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Two Coogee SLSC members have proven that, even outside of their patrolling hours, lifesavers are always on duty following an important rescue in the early hours of a Sunday morning, 29 of August.

Toni Darben, 52 and Jodie King, 47 were out getting exercise with their weekly swim when they noticed a distressed woman in the water, acting quickly to ensure she would make it back to shore safely – a rescue which has since been recognised by Surf Life Saving NSW as the Rescue of the Month..

“It was my first rescue, and naturally my first off-duty,” Jodie said.

“I suppose it was just about going through the process that you’re taught, assessing the patient and also the conditions.

“She was extremely tired and in the break zone of very big swell, and she was stressed. Once we got her out of the break zone and assessed that she was on her own, we chatted to her to calm her down – we even tried to make a few jokes out the back.

“She was on her own and had overestimated her ability, but the surf had also picked up.”

Indeed, the choppy conditions had deterred Toni and Jodie from swimming their normal route, instead opting to do laps back and forth across the bay.

It would prove fortuitous, and so too would Toni and Jodie’s decision to stay and complete a few extra laps after their friends had stopped.

“If we hadn’t of been there I don’t know that anyone would have seen her,” Toni said.

“She was a long way from the flags.

“I think because we had the ability to assess that it was too dangerous for her to go into the beach where she was, we worked out she couldn’t get to the south, the safest thing was to wait with her and call for a lifeguard.

“Joe blow might have said yep come with me and I don’t know how that would have ended up.”

Having helped the woman to swim to the calmer north end of the bay, lifeguards were able to assist in bringing her safely in to shore and ensuring a happy end to a story that could have gone so differently.

“Because we’re down there all the time and training all the time, we were confident we could help,” Toni said.

“Why wouldn’t you want to be down at the beach – I think it’s one of the best things you can do. It’s not just about doing the Surf Life Saving course, it’s a whole community.

“You know everyone, they all help out, I can’t say enough.

“I keep coming down for the friendships that I have made,” Jodie added.

“You always know someone at the beach.”

Thursday 16 September 2021