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They are a common sight on beaches across the state, powering through the surf on the way to plucking stranded swimmers out of the water, and this weekend surf lifesavers from across Sydney and the Far North coast will be making their way to Garie Beach for an important training session.

The Australian Lifesaving Boat Emergency Rescue Training (ALBERT) program, now in its fifth season is a Far North Coast Branch initiative that aims to bring together the Inflatable Rescue Boat community out of season to ensure their skills remain sharp.

In recent seasons the Sydney Branch has become strong supporters of the program, and as a result 2017 marks the second time in two years that one of the smallest surf clubs in Sydney will be hosting a gathering of the program.

Interest in this year’s event has grown considerably with seven clubs from across Sydney joining their Far North Coast counterparts. It’s expected that around 70 surf lifesavers will participate in the session.

Program co-ordinator Michael Crawley said it will be an exciting weekend on the water for the crew.

“We’re really looking forward to it, especially coming back to Garie after a successful event last year. In the past we’ve targeted new drivers but this year a lot of them are more experienced.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone to get together, work on their skills and share their knowledge and passion for IRBs,” Mr Crawley said.

“One of the highlights of the weekend will be having the boats all out on the water at the same time as often the crews train at their clubs by themselves so it represents a good challenge for them.”

South Maroubra Director of Lifesaving and Club Captain Damien Woods who is assisting in organising the session feels it’s a unique opportunity for the participants.

“As Club Captain it’s fantastic that our IRB drivers and crew will be getting the chance to meet and train with others in the IRB space while also sharing their techniques, knowledge and experience.

“Outside of the racing season there’s not a lot of chances to network so this is a great opportunity for them all and we’re delighted to be involved,” Mr Woods said.

Conditions permitting, the crews will be out on the water early on Saturday and will be participating in a number of drills throughout the weekend including a simulated mass rescue situation which will be important to take back to their clubs as we head deeper into summer.


Friday 17 November 2017