Page 1

10th edition


Wilson DHL Lifeguard of the year



In this issue Lifeguarding in the Tropics Deadly Paradise? Warringah Lifeguards Working Smarter

Issue 10 SUMMER 2015 sls.com.au/publications

Lifejackets in the surf zone Old Salty Dog Returns




Cover DHL Lifeguard of the Year Tim Wilson cools off ahead of another hot day lifeguarding on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Photo Gold Coast Bulletin


8 26


4 Editorial 5 The United Approach 6 Sydney's Warringah Lifeguards Working Smarter After in-depth Review 7 Case Study: Mid-week Drowning 8 Lifeguarding in the Tropics 12 NT Lifeguards Broaden Their Skill Sets 13 The Green Island Tourist Trap 15 Lifeguarding: A Tower of Strength Out West 16 The Total Service Plan 18 And Then There Were 10 20 5 Minutes with Russell Blanchard 21 Western Australia Lifeguard News 21 Byron Bay's Main Beach to Be Patrolled Year-Round 22 Best One Ever 24 Case Study: Dangerous Surf Warnings 25 Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue 34th Edition 26 Whirlpools Capture Our Imagination 27 Beaches: Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place 28 The Art of Giving Feedback 30 Rocky Coast Risk Assessment Research 31 National Coastal Safety Report 2014 (Lift-out) 35 Drowning Terminology Not What it Used to Be 36 Rip Current Forum Held at SLSA 37 National Drowning Prevention Summit 2014 38 Community Perceptions 40 Deadly Paradise? 44 5 Tips to Keep You Fighting Fresh This Summer 44 The Travelling Chef Hayden Quinn 45 DIY Rice Bowl with Lots of Pickles 46 Lifejackets in the Surf Zone 48 Lifejacket policy matches marine regulations 49 The Sea-Doo Spark 50 Epic Rescue 52 Celebrating Excellence 54 Saving Lives Around the World 56 Vietnam's First Surf LifeSaving Carnival 57 Lifeguard Exchange 58 Case Study: RIPSAFE Project 59 Revisiting Stories from the Past 60 Lifeguard Snippets 63 National Coastal Safety Report Drowning Snapshot

Publisher Surf Life Saving Australia, Locked Bag 1010, Rosebery NSW 2018, (02) 9215 8000 Project Manager Sarah Anderson. Editor Andre Slade. Subeditor and Proofreader John Mapps. Design Kylie Mulquin. Contributors Peter Agnew, Sarah Anderson, Anthony Bradstreet, Rob Brander, Barbara Brighton, John Boyle, Murray Copas, Hannah Davis, Alen Delic, Matthew Du Plessis, David Field, Emily Gilles, Olivia Harvey, Hayden Quinn, Pamela Simon, Andre Slade, Danny Smyth, SLSA, SLSNT, SLSNSW, SLSQ, SLSWA, Jonathon Webber. Image Credits Sarah Anderson, ASP/Kirstin, Mattias Baenziger, Jack Barnes, Gary Bell, Tom Cozad, David Field, Gold Coast Bulletin, Michael Kenny, Jess Murane, Kathryn Murray, Hayden Quinn, Danny Smyth, iStockphoto, LSV, SLSA, SLSNSW, SLSNT SLSQ, SLSWA, WikiCommons, Wollongong City Council. Our best endeavours have been made to credit the owners of the photos. Advertising Sarah Anderson magazine@lifeguards.com.au

It is now compulsory to wear lifejackets and helmets when operating an IRB in Australia.

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 3



The United Approach

Editorial Drum roll please… I’m super excited to welcome you to the 10th Issue of the Australian Lifeguard Magazine! It still amazes me that it was six years ago that this magazine was born and that it would turn into the voice of the lifeguard industry that it is today. For more on the journey the magazine’s been on, check out my article opposite about the changing landscape of lifeguarding in Australia during that time. In this issue we’ve been able to pull together a major feature I’ve been keen on for a while now. Most lifeguards around the country patrol wave-dominated beaches in the traditional sense, yet up in the tropics things are much, much different. Get an idea of what a day in the life of a tropical lifeguard is like and learn about the types of hazards they have to contend with up there (pp. 8–11)—it might seem like paradise, but it’s not all a holiday. Down south the biggest danger for beachgoers are rip currents but up north they’ve got other fish to fry. You’ll enjoy reading first-hand accounts of what it’s like to patrol on beaches with deadly stingers (pp. 40–42) and crocs (pp. 42–43) lurking around! Continuing the massive move to evidence-based decision-making, perhaps the most professional shift the industry has made since the magazine was launched, this issue features a number of articles reporting on the many recent research projects. Of particular interest to me were the findings on how the Australian community perceive their swimming ability (pp. 38–39). Don’t miss the extracts from the National Coastal Safety Report 2014 (pp. 31–34) either. It is yet again a sobering reminder that while we do an amazing job saving lives on our beaches, there is much more that needs to be done to achieve our goal of a 50 per cent reduction in drowning deaths by 2020. To cap off the 10th issue, we take a look back at the previous nine issues (pp. 18–19); are treated to another awesome recipe by the now-famous Hayden Quinn (p. 45); and hear from the Old Salty Dog for the final time (pp. 22–23). Enjoy the read and thanks for supporting the voice of the lifeguard industry. Andre Slade Editor

Contribute to the magazine The Australian Lifeguard Magazine welcomes your contributions; in fact we want to hear from you! If you would like to contribute an article, send a letter to the editor or supply a photo (or anything else you can think of), please contact the Editor: The Editor Australian Lifeguard Magazine, Locked Bag 1010, Rosebery, NSW 2018 magazine@lifeguards.com.au Please ensure photos are of a high quality and file size. All care will be taken, however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for material submitted, the accuracy of information in the text, illustrations or advertisements contained therein. The content of Australian Lifeguard Magazine is copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. Articles reflect the personal opinion of the authors and are not necessarily those of the publisher. © Copyright 2014 Surf Life Saving Australia

A Magazine Bridges the Lifeguard Industry By Andre Slade


or new lifeguards hitting the beach this season and picking up a copy of the Australian Lifeguard Magazine, it would be almost unimaginable to think that only six years ago there was almost no inter-agency communication across the lifeguard industry, and that the words lifesaver and lifeguard were rarely used in the same sentence, let alone council lifeguards in blue or white uniforms sharing space with the red and yellow of surf life saving.

It would be understandable, though, given that the lifeguard world in which we now live is so different from that of the past. The Australian Lifeguard Magazine has played a pivotal role in the transition of the lifeguard industry over the last six years through its efforts to unite the industry and to become the independent voice of every lifeguard throughout Australia, regardless of employer or uniform colour. Back in 2009, as you may or may not remember, it wasn’t a magazine at all. It was an eight-page newsletter that formed part of a range of communication tools Surf Life Saving Australia put together as part of the Australian Lifeguard Network. There was a website, membership cards and fancy promotional items, all created in the name of bringing together the lifeguard industry and promoting open and transparent communication. Although the magazine would eventually see off the need for a network, the objective behind the initiative turned out to be groundbreaking and set in motion great things to come. It was issue 4 when the newsletter changed to a magazine format and it was perhaps the defining moment in the whole journey because that issue’s cover featured, for the first time in any lifesaving publication, council lifeguards standing alongside a lifeguard from the Australian Lifeguard Service and a volunteer lifesaver. Fast forward to the 10th issue and there have been many fantastic advances in industry relations on the back of the magazine that goes to show how the industry is now working together more than ever to achieve common goals. For examples of the way the industry has aligned in this time you need only look at the success of the Surf Life Saving emergency response system, the many lifeguard/lifesaver exchanges being delivered, the inaugural National Lifeguard Committee including council and ALS lifeguard managers, and the many inter-industry working groups brought together on numerous state and national projects. For me, though, the most satisfying achievement to date has been the integration of lifesavers and lifeguards into the everyday vernacular of surf lifesaving. I smile every time I read a report or hear news items referring to ‘lifesavers and lifeguards’—it seems so little, but it means so much. This season, when the latest edition of the Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue training manual was published with a lifeguard and a lifesaver on the cover, and photos of both working together inside, I knew we had finally turned a corner from which there would be no going back. Well done to the lifeguard industry for embracing the Australian Lifeguard Magazine and all it stands for.

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 5

lifesaving Sydney’s Warringah Lifeguards

Case Study Mid-week Drowning

Coastal drowning deaths are significantly higher on the weekends (Chi square analysis, p > 0.05). The majority of mid-week drowning deaths occur on Monday; this may be due to increased exposure during holiday long weekends, which have not been considered in this analysis. Volunteer surf lifesavers patrol beaches on weekends and public holidays only. The results of this analysis highlight the need for ongoing lifeguard services during the week to ensure beaches are patrolled when the majority of the coastal drowning deaths occur.

Sunday Saturday Friday Thursday Wednesday Tuesday Monday

600 500 102 400 Number (n)

Over the last 10 years, 888 (96%) of the coastal drowning incidents have occurred on a known day of the week. Of these incidents, 504 (57%) have occurred on a weekday and 384 (43%) have occurred on a weekend. It is an average of 101 incidents per weekday and 192 incidents per weekend day.

104 300 86


200 97 100 115


0 Weekday


2004–14: 10-year Coastal Drowning Deaths by Day

Sydney’s Warringah Lifeguards Working Smarter After In-depth Review


ith a record number of beach visitors for the past two years and another long, hot summer ahead, Warringah Council’s Manager of Beach Services knows he has to stay ahead of the game.

saves us about 10 hours of administration time a week. It also means that we’ve got more eyes on the water, which improves safety.’

‘Our seasons are getting longer and busier,’ says Clint Rose. ‘Last year we had a record three million people visit our nine beaches and, for the first time, we had to extend the season into June.’

Some of that engagement is now being done successfully on social media. The service posts beach updates on Warringah’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Warringah Council’s Media and Content Manager, Belinda Noble, says the beach updates are some of the most popular posts from the council. ‘When the lifeguards found rare green algae balls on the beach we put it on social media and it went viral,’ she says.

Another major change has been the service’s new uniforms and branded equipment. The move was directed from the council, which introduced a new logo and style guide in 2013. ‘It initially caused a bit of controversy but I have to say the new uniforms have definitely raised our profile with the public and in the industry as a whole. It’s important that people know who we are and what we do, and that we engage with the public as much as possible.’

Due to the increasing demand, Rose decided to review the service. ‘We couldn’t work any harder so we had to work smarter,’ he says. The review was done in-house using the Australian Business Excellence Framework to assess and improve performance. As a result, a new and improved roster system was created. Many casual staff were moved into permanent part-time positions and five senior seasonal positions were made into permanent full-time roles. The service is one of the first in New South Wales to begin using iPads for communicating and reporting. ‘Writing reports in long hand and then delivering them back to the office was an enormous time waster,’ says Rose. ‘We now use tailored software and send our reports back immediately from the beach to our records management system. The data is also automatically fed into our database so that we have real-time collation of statistics for rescues, preventative actions and the like. It 6 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

online community

‘Big waves and swell are also very popular. We even get comments from expats overseas who are missing the beach.’ Clint Rose says the real benefit is setting up an ongoing dialogue with the public. ‘Now if a beach is closed or dangerous, we have another, very effective way to let people know.’

Warringah Lifeguards on Social Media Facebook: www.facebook.com/Warringah Twitter: www.twitter.com/warringah

Instagram: www.instagram.com/warringah

Famed for wrestling a baby great white shark at Freshwater Beach in 2008, Rose has been with the council for more than 25 years and has been Manager of Beach Services for 15 years. He reckons the new technology is one of the most positive changes he’s seen. ‘The future is going to be more exciting,’ he adds. ‘We plan on using our website more to keep the public up to date on what's happening at all our beaches, seven days a week.’

Lifeguarding in the Tropics lifesaving


ave you southerners ever wondered what it’d be like to be a lifeguard in tropical Australia? In this feature article we talk to lifeguards in North Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory to find out just how different their responsibilities are to those in the south.

The SLSA Patrol Tracker app was trialled by lifeguards in the Northern Territory. They found it to be an excellent tool for all team members.

Imagine kilometres of pristine white sands, matched by azure-blue, crystal clear water, and an ecosystem of diverse flora and fauna not seen anywhere else on the planet. Take that idyllic paradise, add some of the deadliest creatures on the planet, and now you’re looking at beaches in the Australian tropics.

e r u t a fe

Lifeguarding in the Tropics

With hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the region every year, lifeguards in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory have a unique set of challenges. Most obviously, the seasons are different. Instead of a summer and winter season, there’s a wet season and a dry season. Says Northern Territory Surf Life Saving CEO Tony Snelling,‘Our dry season is very much like the southern summer—there’s dry air and it feels like summer every day.’ ‘Then in the wet season, even though it’s warm, incredibly humid, and could be raining all day, people will still come out to places like lagoons and protected beaches,’ he says. ‘It’s a different mindset up here.’ The traditional winter period of June–July–August is also one of the busiest times in the tropics, as tourists from the south look to escape to the warmer climes of the north. Water temperatures still average around 22–23ºC in the dry season, so it’s not very different from the southern summer. But the dry season is not the difficult period in the tropics—it’s the wet season when the problems begin to emerge.

Surf’s Up

In the Top End, the wet season is when the surf begins to pick up, says Northern Territory Surf Life Saving Lifeguard Manager Trevor Radburn.

Lifeguard Manager Trevor Radburn checks Darwin's Rapid Creek crocodile trap. There are 30 crocodile traps in Darwin Harbour crocodile management zone. 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 9

lifesaving Lifeguarding in the Tropics

‘Darwin’s popular beaches face the north-westerly monsoonal winds, from the Timor Sea, occasionally off 2.5–3 m sea. These break straight into the shallow beaches of Darwin, so you can get quite a big surf.’ The service estimates there are around 250 surfers in the small Darwin area, so when the conditions are right, the beaches get packed very quickly.

the perimeter [around 200–250 m long] and make sure there are no holes, make sure that nothing’s gotten in overnight, and check for food indicators. The nets do a good job of keeping [box jellyfish] out, but tentacles can still get through. But that’s why we do our checks.’ After the initial net check, they’ll pull out a fine net and drag it across the water. When they do this, they’re looking for traces of the irukandji jellyfish—another dangerous jellyfish native to the northern waters. Unlike the box jellyfish, the irukandji causes severe illness, but not death. It’s small—about the size of a five-cent coin—so a very fine net is needed to find any traces of it.

A Different Kind of Hazard

The Territory’s beaches are also susceptible to rips and strong currents. ‘We don’t have a lot of people being swept away or having to be rescued after being carried away by currents,’ Snelling says. ‘We do get rips, in the wet season, but it’s not the foremost hazard.’

When the initial checks have been completed and the lifeguards are satisfied the beach is safe to swim in, they’ll put up the flags and open it to the public. The rest of the day is spent monitoring the area for any changes, keeping an eye on the tides and currents, and responding to any incidents that may occur.

Instead, it’s deadly sea creatures, extreme heat and high humidity that are among the issues that lifeguards in Australia’s tropics have to deal with, says North Queensland Lifeguard Supervisor Jay March. ‘Our surf isn’t as big up here as it is down in the southern states,’ March says. ‘A lot of our beaches are protected by the Great Barrier Reef, so it’s rare we’ll get big waves. But we have other issues—think stingers and crocs.’ Foremost among the stingers is the box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri), which is more poisonous than the red back spider or the king cobra. More than 60 people have died by its venom since the 1880s, the last fatality was about five years ago. It’s the lifeguards who are tasked with minimising these deaths and making sure the beach is safe for tourists and locals.

A Day in the Life

A normal day for a lifeguard on a North Queensland beach begins around 9am, March says. ‘First thing we’ll do in the morning is paddle out around

Territory lifeguards, on the other hand, don’t have nets to check, because it’s simply not possible to use nets in the terrain they work with. As well as stingers, Queenslanders and Territorians also have to look out for any crocodiles in the area. Read more about crocs and stingers on pp. 40–43.

During the wet season the north-westerly monsoon regularly pushes 1-2 m surf onto Darwin beaches. Rescue jetskis are highly effective in these conditions.

Offshore Rescue Boat

Despite all the potential dangers, there’s no stopping the hordes of people from Australia and around the world visiting Australia’s tropics every year. Those tasked with keeping them safe are confident they can do the job. ‘There’s thousands of beautiful beaches across our tropics,’ says Snelling. ‘But you’ve got to be very careful and you’ve got to treat those beaches with respect.’

Lifeguards take down the flags. The tide is well and truly out in the background.

Kiah Hazel patrols the NightcliffCasuarina Beach area regularly checking for crocs while locals are out with kites and SUPs.

Top 10 Outdoor attractions in Australia's Northern Territory As ranked by Lonely Planet 1 2 3 4 5

6 7 8 9 10

Our dry season is very much like the southern summer-there’s dry air and it feels like summer every day

10 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Uluru The Olgas Kings Canyon Kakadu National Park Mindil Beach Sunset Market The Tiwi Islands Katherine Gorge The jumping croc circus Litchfield National Park Territory Wildlife Park

lifesaving NT Lifeguards Broaden their Skill sets

The green island tourist trap lifesaving

NT Lifeguards Broaden their Skill sets


one are the days when lifeguards were just the blokes who pulled you out of the water if you were caught in a rip current.

Lifeguards training to develop their rapid response and underwater search skills.

Surf Life Saving Northern Territory CEO Tony Snelling says the service has been furthering its lifeguards’ capabilities to turn them into broader coastal safety officers. ‘Our focus up here has been to extend the skills and knowledge of our lifeguards and into other areas,’ he says. ‘Particularly, we’re teaching them marine rescue.’ The lifeguards are being put through various accredited marine qualifications, so some can skipper or crew an accredited commercial vessel up to 12 m in length. Some can operate offshore rescue boats, while others have been training with rescue jetskis. ‘It’s all so we can go and help people who are in distress in the open water,’ Snelling says. ‘It’s really a useful bit of skills transfer for us. We know the lifeguards who are on the boat will also have advanced emergency care skills.’ This initiative means that those who get in trouble on the open water in Australia’s north are safer than ever. The surf lifesaving service in the Northern Territory has evolved significantly since its incorporation in 1991, and is getting more professional every day, Snelling says. ‘Particularly in the last 10 years, it has changed dramatically, with lifeguards and lifesavers now moving offshore to take more of a broader coastal perspective. The lifeguards and lifesavers tend to work really well together to provide a fantastic service.’

Northern Territory lifeguards test themselves during Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue training.

Our focus up here has been to extend the skills and knowledge of our lifeguards and into other areas

The Green Island Tourist Trap


orth Queensland’s beautiful beaches are not known, by and large, for their strong currents. Not so Green Island, where rips, tides and strong currents are at the top of the list of things lifeguards have to worry about. According to Jay March, North Queensland’s Lifeguard Supervisor, lifeguards are kept busy by Green Island’s popularity with tourists, who are often inexperienced in swimming in strong currents. ‘Statistically, Green Island is one of the biggest blackspots for drownings and rescues in the state,’ he says. ‘We did more than 250 rescues there last year, and most of them tourists.’ The island is a hotspot for snorkelling and diving—cruise ships and adventure tours frequent the area and bring thousands of tourists each day. Chantel Fife, Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Coastal Safety Officer, says tourists get themselves into trouble mainly because they underestimate how difficult the conditions can be. ‘It’s the currents and the tides that can be a problem,’ she says. ‘Currents can be quite misleading. It seems like such a nice place, then the tide changes, and tourists can find themselves caught out if they don’t read the conditions.’

But it’s something the lifeguards are prepared for, she says. ‘In terms of training, everyone’s trained to exactly the same high standard across the state. However, they adapt to the environment and what they’re doing. They’ve learned how to adapt their rescue techniques, their patrols, and even implemented preventative measures.’ One such measure is installing rest buoys—floating pipes that snorkellers can grab on to, have a rest, and then keep on going. Fife says swimmers and snorkellers need to be sensible and follow the rules to stay safe on such a dangerous beach. ‘The main problem we have is around people swimming in the unpatrolled beach area,’ she says. ‘Like most beaches across Australia people don’t swim between the flags, stay within their depths, or just talk to the lifeguards on how to stay safe. If they did that, our true-blue heroes, the lifeguards, wouldn’t be so busy and we wouldn’t be such a huge blackspot!’

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 13

lifeguarding: A Tower of Strength Out West lifesaving


A Tower of Strength Out West


ifeguard towers are an iconic image of lifeguarding throughout the world. Yet, in Australia, we use very few of them in our day-to-day lifeguarding operations. Apart from the large-style towers along beaches such as the Gold Coast, the smaller on-beachstyle towers similar to those you’ll see in the USA are few and far between. LIFEGUARD asked Matthew Duplessis, Lifesaving Operations Coordinator for SLSWA, to explain the new approach to lifeguarding they are implementing with the use of on-beach towers. MATTHEW: Over the past few years, we have been looking deeply into our operations and seeing how we can improve them, and questioning whether we are meeting the needs of the public. We are still seeing a number of people getting into difficulties outside the primary patrolling area, so the question we had to ask was: Are our current methods sufficient, or can we do more?

Elevated platforms also help improve the angle of vision, reducing the limiting effect that surface reflection, glare and sea surface conditions can have on surveillance. A raised platform should, where possible, provide unimpeded vision of the shoreline and above the wave zone, allowing for immediate response. The current patrol tents and trailers by themselves do not meet the above objectives for a number of reasons. We believe that the introduction of towers will change the culture of our services and also bring a more professional look. Over the next few years, we will be looking at trialling more towers, which in turn will help manage the risk more effectively. We are confident that this will be the future look of our operations in Western Australia. However, we first need to make sure that the towers meet our objectives. As we are still awaiting delivery of our first tower from California, we will have more updates in 2015. A recent coronial inquest (Bryn Martin shark fatality) recommended a tower be placed at Cottesloe Beach due to lack of adequate surveillance.

We are seeing people accessing the coastline by moving away from the traditional patrolled areas, thus placing themselves at more risk due to not having rescue services at hand. With this change in beach user behaviour in mind, we had to look at how we could meet the increasing demands. One of the methods we are looking at is the Californian-style lifeguard tower. We intend to trial these towers at strategically placed locations. Providing permanent or semi-permanent surveillance/observation towers across Western Australian beaches is likely to improve the surveillance and search and rescue techniques of lifesaving services. A raised platform increases the length and breadth of the area under surveillance, without necessarily having to increase the lifesaving service level or profiles.


An on-beach-style lifeguard tower used in the USA.

A raised platform increases the length and breadth of the area under surveillance

An example of a large-style lifeguard tower used in eastern states.


lifesaving The Total Service Plan

The Total Service Plan

The Backbone that Supports Our Industry Goal


he Total Service Plan is the overall national strategic document and service plan for the SLSA Coastal Safety Department. It includes strategies that cover the entire coastline of Australia, bringing together all lifesaving organisations, volunteer and paid.

The central tenet of the plan is that SLSA is a knowledge and research hub with a focus on nationally significant issues and programs.

Top 10 National Safety Agenda Issues Rip Currents Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft Toxicity and Health International Tourists Snorkelling and Diving Over 55 Years Dangerous Marine Creatures 10 New Migrants 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Top 10 Blackspots 2014

Team members analyse data to identify coastal safety trends, define key insights, develop mitigation strategies and pilot programs that allow projects to be rolled out in the states or territories by the relevant body.


City of Randwick City of Wollongong

Key items included in and driven by the plan are:

Wyong Shire

• Research and data management • National Safety Agenda • Operations, including distribution of resources and services • Public education The Total Service Plan is created using data analysis and review to identify coastal safety issues of national importance. It follows the public health model and is consistent with international risk management principles.

Data at the Heart of Decision-making

At the core of the plan is the data, including existing material such as population and drowning data, rescue statistics and operational data, as well as new data, such as a recent National Coastal Safety Survey, which explored attitudes and behaviours of the Australian public regarding the coast and safety. In collaboration with stakeholders, SLSA’s Coastal Safety team identifies coastal safety risks via incident monitoring, coastal risk assessments and participation analysis. This information is analysed using trend and target identification, GIS plotting and critical incident analysis to identify the top national coastal safety issues, priorities and blackspots that require intervention or mitigation strategies.

16 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition


City of Darwin

Putting Blackspots on the Agenda

The issues and blackspots identified through this process form the basis of SLSA’s National Safety Agenda. For each issue and blackspot, a detailed Coastal Safety Brief is produced. This brief includes root cause analysis, intervention targets, behavioural change identification, mitigation strategies and pilot programs. The National Safety Agenda influences lifesaving operations, including services and equipment allocation, and drives public education, including evidence-based mitigation strategies, communications campaigns and pilot projects. Each component of the plan is regularly reviewed, evaluated, revised and updated as new evidence and data become available. The Total Service Plan takes a risk management approach, which allows SLSA to use the evidence to ensure they locate lifesaving services and assets in areas of need and have in place appropriate public education programs and mitigation strategies to address the coastal safety issues and known blackspots.


National Coastal Safety Survey In April 2014, SLSA and Newspoll ran an online survey to gauge the Australian public’s attitudes, perceptions and behaviour relating to the coast and coastal safety. The key results revealed: • 48 per cent of people do not view the coast as hazardous and a further 38 per cent of people believe it is only somewhat hazardous. • Only 35 per cent of people can swim 50 m in the ocean non-stop. • Only 43 per cent of people usually swim between the flags; 28 per cent usually swim at patrolled beaches out of patrol hours; 21 per cent usually swim at unpatrolled locations. This lack of respect for the ocean, combined with people’s poor swimming ability and their low adherence to safety procedures is a dangerous combination that has led to coastal drowning deaths in the past and will continue to do so unless addressed.

City of Gold Coast  unshine Coast Council/ S Noosa Shire SA

City of Onkaparinga TAS

West Tamar Municipality VIC

Mornington Peninsula Shire WA

City of Wanneroo

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 17

lifesaving and then there were 10

and then there were 10 lifesaving

e r u t a e f

And Then There Were 10 Take a look back over the first 10 issues of the Australian Lifeguard Magazine.

Issue 1 (Feb 09)

The magazine actually started off as a newsletter for the new Australian Lifeguard Network, an initiative by SLSA to promote inter-communication across the lifeguard industry. The first issue was only eight pages long.

Issue 2 (Nov 09)

Leading into summer was a great time to showcase some of the coastal public safety campaigns being planned by SLSA, Darwin lifeguards were posing with models at their new wave lagoon and we heard from the Old Salty Dog for the first time!

Issue 4 (Spring 10)

Issue 3 (Feb 10)

The newsletter was no more, and the first ‘magazine’ makes its appearance. In a first for the industry the cover features lifeguards from the Sutherland Shire, Randwick, Waverley and the Australian Lifeguard Service, along with a volunteer lifesaver. Featured articles focus on what it means to be a waterman, and women in lifeguarding.

In a bumper 16-page issue the first non-SLS lifeguard manager, Waverley Council’s Scott Field, wrote a column on recruiting quality lifeguards, the Sutherland Shire showcased its lifesaver/lifeguard exchange, and we looked at Australia’s top 20 blackspots and what was being done about it.


10th edition

For BRP, our SLS partnership extends beyond our endorsed supplier status.



a pair maui jim sunnies




Official Powercraft Sponsor of SLS

DHL Lifeguard of the year

In 2009, the BRP & SLS partnership was born & ever since we have been providing significant financial & product contributions.


In addition, our Club Support Program assists all SLS clubs in upgrading their personal watercraft, side-by-side vehicles & outboards. Products are specifically factory configured to meet the unique rescue requirements of SLS. BRP is committed to the ‘Surf Life Saving’ movement. This commitment extends a whole lot further than our title as the official powercraft partner at the top of the endorsed supplier list.


BRP supply Sea-Doo watercraft and Can-Am Commanders as a turnkey solution to SLS.

In this issue Can-Am Commander 800 DPS

(Approved by SLS)

Sea-Doo GTX 155 & GTI130 / 155SE • Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR) - The world's only

ROTAX engine & auto-locking 4x4 • Powerful TACKLING MENTAL

• Industry exclusive Closed Loop Cooling System (CLCS) -

• Impressive 680kg towing capacity for heavy loads

on-water braking system for enhanced rescue safety.




(Approved by SLS)


the only PWC that uses coolant as opposed to corrosive saltwater to cool engine for greater reliability.

• LFI Hull for greater stability and control in challenging surf conditions.


system for optimal soft sand performance


such as surf-boats & PWCs


• Learning Key - limits speed for beginners, allowing

surfSUNSHINE clubs to safely COAST train the next generation of lifesavers. ON THE




BRP is also the manufacturer of: SKI-DOO EVINRUDE ROTAX ®



Issue 10 SUMMER 2015 BRP.COM

In this issue Lifeguarding in the Tropics Deadly Paradise? Warringah Lifeguards Working Smarter

DARREN O'Rafferty

To learn more call us today, we have staff dedicated to supporting the BRP / SLS partnership: Jayson Ginn (02) 9355-2710

Issue 09 SUMMER 2014



Lifejackets in the surf zone Old Salty Dog Returns

© 2014 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). ®, ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates.

ALGM2015_cover_F_CS6.indd 3

Issue 5 (Summer 11)

The flavour of the issue was all about The Hoff, who had visited Australian shores promoting ice-cream! We also featured the industry’s top athletes, took a drive along the Great Ocean Road using the new Beachsafe App, and got an insight in the popular Bondi Rescue series from the boys in blue.

18 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Issue 6 (Spring 11)

Warringah lifeguard Hayden Quinn became a household name for his cooking exploits on MasterChef so we put him on the cover. The inaugural Lifeguard Advisory Panel was introduced to the industry, evidence-based research became a buzz word and Wollongong Council was put in focus.

Issue 7 (Autumn 12)

Ironman and Sunshine Coast lifeguard Corey Jones was our coverboy and professional waterman Mick Leddy, from Gosford City Council, was pumped to have won a trip to G-Land. A whole heap of emerging technology was being tested around the beaches— including a remote-powered rescue tube called Emily.

Issue 8 (Summer 13)

This behemoth of an issue consisted of 60 pages of lifeguard industry news from across the country and around the world, including Fiji, the Solomon Islands and the USA. The 2nd International Rip Current Symposium brought the industry together in Sydney, and we took a light-hearted look at the various lifeguard mascots around the services.

Issue 9 (Summer 14)

Brad Whittaker graced the cover as the Shire’s suited surfing Lifeguard Manager. The hot topic was the changing of the guard on the Sunshine Coast. We tackled mental health taboos, post-traumatic stress, talked to pro surfer and lifeguard Darren O’Rafferty, and Dr Rip gave us an update on our rip current research and education journey.

12/12/2014 11:39 am

Issue 10 (Summer 15)

We celebrate 10 issues over six years and look back on the groundbreaking changes within the lifeguard industry over that time. The tropical lifeguarding features dominate the magazine to highlight the less glamorous side of the profession.

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 19

news lifesaving

Western Australia Lifeguard News Lifeguard Exchange

This winter has seen three lifeguards from Western Australia heading overseas to gain valuable experience working in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Daniel Andrew and Will Dwyer travelled to Cornwall to brave the cold waters and busy beaches working for the highly respected Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) where they hoped to experience excellent surf conditions and undergo the rigorous RNLI lifeguard training. Danny Smyth has been to Ballito in South Africa working for the KwaDukuza Lifeguard Service. While there, Danny experienced some hectic surf conditions and was impressed with the friendliness and support of the other local lifeguards. It was a fantastic experience, and

profile 5 Minutes with


Where are you from and where are you living now?

Originally from Emu Park, a small central Queensland coastal town, but I’ve lived and worked all over Queensland, mainly in rural industries but now in Townsville. How many years lifeguarding?

I’ve been in my current role for five years, part of SLSQ for 16 years, and started casual lifeguarding six to seven years ago. Favourite thing about lifeguarding

What’s not to like? Love the lifestyle and the ‘office’ is pretty special!


he Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) will patrol Byron Bay’s Main Beach for the whole year, excluding weekends and public holidays, during the volunteer lifesaving season after successfully extending its lifeguard contract with Byron Shire Council.

What’s the one thing you think southern lifeguards would never ‘get’ about lifeguarding in the tropics?

The ALS currently employs up to 34 lifeguards across nine beaches throughout the shire at peak periods and has provided professional lifeguard services to Byron Shire Council for 27 years.

Do you have any hidden talents or achievements?

‘The Australian Lifeguard Service is pleased to have extended the contract with council to allow for lifeguards to patrol Byron’s Main Beach yearround,’ he says. ‘Main Beach is one of the busiest beaches in the state and council is very proactive in the area of improving safety for all beachgoers and we look forward to continuing the positive relationship we’ve built with council.

The obvious would be crocs and stingers, but to say southern guards wouldn’t get something about the north is to suggest northern guards wouldn’t get something about the south. The training, proficiency and induction systems ALSQ have in place are pretty good, so anyone should be able to work anywhere. Also, we do experience difficult (but different, messy) ocean conditions and rescues—just not to the degree of south of the reef. I think I’ll call out my two successful, wonderful children as my achievements. Luci, 25, manages gyms and Chriso, 24, is an electrician and father to my beautiful grandson Riley. Both started their work careers as casual lifeguards under Craig Holden and have worked for me also. Chriso was one of my permanents after completing his apprenticeship. My gorgeous wife Sharon also works as a casual lagoon lifeguard for me. My favourite hobby is fishing! I have fished since I could walk, commercially and recreational, and like to think I’m pretty successful at it! Craziest stinger and/or croc story …

Too many to remember specifics, but I always get a giggle about ‘locals’ being immune to box jellyfish ‘been stung before mate … blah, blah blah’ and insisting in swimming in areas riddled with them. Last season we had a bloke argue the point at the exact location where we had just dragged 115 Chironex fleckeri (boxies) in one drag (a record for Townsville)—one of the most dangerous creatures known to man! He was probably immune to mulga snake bites also! News flash—absolutely no one is immune to chironex toxin. Lifeguard career highlight?

I’m proud to have built a team that can handle any situation thrown at them. What you’d love to be doing for a job in 10 years? Russell training members of his team. 20 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Lifeguard Training Camp

In July, SLSWA conducted a lifeguard training camp to reach out to people in the community who were interested in becoming lifeguards but did not have the necessary qualifications to apply. It involved a two-week intensive course including modules such as pain management, rock rescues and spinal management, as well as the Bronze Medallion. The 12 people who attended are now able to apply for lifeguard positions for the upcoming season. This new initiative has proved to be very successful.

Byron Bay’s Main Beach to be Patrolled Year-Round

Russell Blanchard

ussell Blanchard, 50, is the Lifeguard Supervisor for the North Barrier branch of the Australian Lifeguard Service, Queensland, taking care of the area between Sarina and Forrest Beach.

Danny is keen to return for next season to improve his abilities as a lifeguard. Read more about Danny’s exchange on page 57.

I would like to think I’ll still be doing the same job, then take early retirement with a huge payout from the chief lifeguard!

ALS (NSW) Coordinator Brent Manieri is delighted to be continuing the positive relationship with council into the future.

‘Last year more than 840,000 people visited patrolled beaches in the Byron Shire and we are expecting another big year this year.’

The expertise of the ALS was on clear display during last season. Despite a high beach attendance across the area, lifeguards performed just 57 major rescues, highlighting the proactive nature of lifeguards with a focus on preventative actions. ‘Main Beach Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most visited beaches all year round. It’s a family favourite plus a draw card for young people from around the world. ‘Having Main Beach patrolled 365 days through a combination of professional and volunteer services, is a community service that is highly valued and appreciated,’ he says. This success follows the successful retention of contracts for Ballina and Bellingen Shire Councils, continuing the strong relationships that have been built over many years.

NSW Lifeguard of the Year

In another significant achievement, Byron Shire lifeguard Steve Mills was named the 2013/14 ALS New South Wales Lifeguard of the Year. Byron Mayor Simon Richardson said he was thrilled that council could provide additional funding this year for the extended service.

lifesaving best one ever

Best One Ever


he Old Salty Dog is back! We know him as the old-school pro-lifeguard. His crazy lifeguarding adventures across the globe, big wave charging and luck with the ladies are legendary but in his final comeback he’s agreed to share his best rescue ever. As lifeguards, we’ve all got a bit of the old salty dog in us, so enjoy the story and get stoked!

As a career professional ocean lifeguard you tend to rack up the odd rescue, and recently I was asked by a group of school kids what was the best rescue I had ever done. That’s an easy one! It all started when Ronnie, long-time friend and lifeguard-cum-paramedic in LA County, California, had sorted me a northern hemisphere winter lifeguard gig on the North Shore of Hawaii. It was one of the few places I hadn’t actually worked, although I had visited it on many occasions and spent a full winter there in 2009 with a crew of Irish big-wave hell men. The lads were revelling in just wearing board shorts after a lifetime in 5/4 neoprene and absolutely charged 30-ft Jaws on a day when the world’s most famous big wave surfer clearly pulled back on a few bombs. The job was great and we rescued loads of tourists right along the famous coastline that stretches from Kaena Point in the west of the island 27 km to Kahuku Point. My shift involved numerous different beaches and I worked with loads of the local Hawaiians—all exceptional watermen but one of the most interesting was a Japanese surfer named Hedeshi Ayoki. Deshi, to his mates, was on his fourth consecutive season on the North Shore and had the respect of the local crew after a late afternoon rescue

of a local girl who was dragged out to sea at Sunset Beach on a wild day last January. The whole rescue took 45 minutes and Deshi is now firmly regarded as ‘one of the boys’ on the North Shore.

japanese snow and surf

In the off season, Deshi is a snowboard guide and he invited me to visit him and experience the deep powder of Hokkaido, Japan, in March. A bit of research quickly blew me away—skiing Hokkaido is incredibly rewarding for powder hounds. Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, is geographically ideally located in the path of consistent weather systems that bring the cold air across the Sea of Japan from Siberia. It results in many of the resorts being absolutely dumped with powder that is renowned for being incredibly dry. Some of the Hokkaido ski resorts receive an amazing average of 18 m of snowfall annually! I was so pumped! The season ended for me at the end of February and I jumped the first Japan Airlines flight out of Honolulu to Japan. Deshi met me at Sapporo airport and we headed 100 km west to Niseko, our base for the week. Having skied the majority of the globe’s big mountains I thought I was well prepared for Hokkaido. The place was incredible, and it snowed and snowed every single day we were there.

The visibility was not great on top of the mountain but among the tree line it was going off. My skiing improved with Deshi leading the way and the whole week went by really quickly. I needed some serious warmth and decided to head to the beach in the morning of my flight back to Australia. I was recommended to go to Otaru Beach, and arrived around lunchtime. The wind was onshore but the warm sun felt great after having my entire body submerged in powder snow for a week. The beach was super-crowded and although there was not a lot of swell, I was surprised there was no lifeguard service operating. There seemed to be a number of rips along the beach and as I worked out a course for a long ocean swim, I noticed a couple of kids playing to the left side of a small rock groyne. There was a definite rip running out to sea along this groyne, and I was slightly concerned—considering the direction of the wind—that they would end up in it. No sooner had I thought that, it was on. Both were in and, you guessed it, neither was a great swimmer. My jog down the beach turned into a sprint. This was one of those crazy times when you are in control but in the midst of a drama that is out of control and while skill plays a part, luck has a larger role in the outcome. The key in this situation is to not lose sight of the intended target(s)—bloody difficult when they were moving in different directions. I had to cover at least 400 m on soft sand and as I sprinted, I looked for something, anything, that would assist. A bodyboard. A kid was holding a bodyboard and I ripped it from his arms as I charged forward. The girl was closest and the boy much further out and struggling big time. I was still 200 m from the water. I strained my eyes to stay with him, willing him to hang on for me, for someone. I hit the water and got to the girl quickly, she grabbed the bodyboard and I motioned to her to hang on until I returned.

hokkaido rips

As I looked out to sea, my target was gone. I still had him in sight when I reached the girl but the split second I dealt with her had a cost. I knew he was on the left side of the rip and approx 50 m out. My only way to measure this was 30 freestyle strokes left side (crazy, but I know from a million pool miles that it takes me that many strokes to cover 50 m). At this stage, I was deeply concerned, or to put it better, I was sh#%@ing myself that he was gone. It was so difficult in onshore choppy surf to see anything at water level, but I stroked out carefully and then I saw it, some fingers; bloody hell, he was still fighting. I swam over. My god, he was underwater, his eyes were open and he was reaching forward towards the sky but only half his hand protruded from the ocean. I don’t know how I even saw it. I grabbed hold and dragged him up. As he broke the surface he coughed and followed that with a massive spew—all ocean and better out than in. He grabbed hold of me. It was difficult to say how long he was under, it seemed ages but realistically it was a short amount of time. Unbeknown to me, the scene on the beach was chaos as the mum of the boy was seriously hysterical. I swam the boy back to the girl who was now nearly level with us and dragged them sideways to the sandbank. As we walked in towards the beach the crowd and the parents of the two (unrelated) came out to greet them. The young bloke was completely fine, but it could’ve (should’ve) ended differently. I offloaded the two kids and moved up the beach to collect my discarded clothing and bags I had left when this whole scene went down. Hours later at Sapporo airport as I sipped a large beer, I received a text from Deshi saying he had found out that the young bloke I rescued was the son of a lady who had lost her husband and three daughters in the tsunami of 2011. As rescues go, that was the best ever! Old Salty Dog (aka ex-Manly lifeguard Scott Wood) 22 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 23

Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue 34th Edition education and training

Case Study

Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue

Dangerous Surf Warnings

34th Edition

Enhancing early warning of hazardous conditions is a key feature of the Surf Life Saving Total Service Plan. By providing warnings to the community during periods of heightened risk individuals are better informed to make decisions regarding their activities and to alter their behaviour accordingly to manage their risk exposure. The Bureau of Meteorology has led the development of dangerous surf warnings in New South Wales supported by Surf Life Saving New South Wales and several other stakeholder groups including Roads and Maritime Services and the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW.

In the 2013–14 season, during 50% of the periods when dangerous surf warnings were issued in New South Wales one person drowned. This figure highlights the importance of this program. A clear need has been identified to continue enhancing and improving the dangerous surf warning system to better inform beachgoers of the prevailing risks at various locations along the coast.


he recently released 34th edition of the Surf Life Saving Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue training manual reflects Surf Life Saving’s commitment to continuous improvement in training techniques and, for the first time, includes lifeguarding imagery and techniques to make it a true industry resource. The Manual

The 34th edition is based on best practice in public safety and drowning prevention, and brings further refinements to rescue and resuscitation techniques in the aquatic environment for lifesavers and lifeguards. The resource is a comprehensive guide to surf lifesaving and lifeguard training and techniques.

How to buy the 34th Edition Manual 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Go to sls.com.au Select ‘Shop’ from the top menu Select ‘CLUB EQUIPMENT & accessories’ Scroll down to list of available stock in store, click on manuals Select ‘PSAR Manual 34th Edition July 2014’ (Single or 20 Pack) Fill in ‘Quantity’ Select ‘Add to cart’ Select ‘Checkout’ Complete ‘Club details’ on the Checkout page Submit your order

Further details of changes included in the latest edition can be found in the first circular of the 2014/15 season, ‘01/14-15 Introduction of the 34th Edition PSAR’, posted in the ‘Announcements’ section of the SLSA Members Portal in July and available in the Members Portal Library for review.


For the first time ever, the latest Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue training manual can now be viewed in digital format via the ‘VitalSource – Bookshelf Online’. Detailed instructions are on the inside front cover of each copy of the manual. The Bookshelf application is available on both desktop and mobile platforms for PC/Android and Mac iOS.


SLSA have also produced the new Bronze Bay eLearning resource. It is now available through your Lifesaving Online account under ‘My Courses’. This resource reflects SLSA's commitment to increasing opportunities for blended learning in lifeguarding and lifesaving training.


Rounding out the suite of resources released with the new edition manual are 11 rescue and resuscitation videos. These are currently available through the SLS website (sls.com.au) and the Members Portal Library.

a comprehensive guide to surf lifesaving and lifeguard training and techniques

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 25

Whirlpools and beaches education and training

Whirlpools Capture Our Imagination


Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place By Rob Brander


e know that in the short term sand comes from the ocean and is brought onshore by wave action, but how did it get there in the first place?

coastline was about 25 km offshore of where it is now and was inhabited by indigenous people rather than hostile joggers and power walkers. As the Earth started to heat up, the ice melted, and sea levels started to rise. Fast. More rapidly, in fact, than most of the predictions of sea level rise for the next 100 years.

Next time you are standing on your local sandy beach, look down at the sand and then up at the sandstone headlands. Same colour, right? So the obvious answer is that the sand must be coming from the erosion of the rocks? Not so fast.

Did the beaches disappear? Nope. Instead, a massive landward migration of the shoreline, beach and dune systems took place, stopping only about 6,500 years ago when the sea level stabilised and our present-day coastline formed.

Those sandstone rocks are more than 100 million years old and are more resistant to erosion than you may think. There is actually only a tiny amount of sand being added to our beaches from the rocks at the present time. The beaches are youngsters in comparison, and the sand that’s sitting on your beach is actually the same sand that’s been sitting there for the last 6,500 years or so. So if it’s not coming from the rocks, how did it get there?

Flash rip currents in California, USA. Courtesy Tom Cozad, Surfline

very day, pilots and aircrew around the world fly high over coastlines taking in the view. Once in a while they see something out of the ordinary in the water, and sometimes they’re lucky enough to be holding a camera and can snap a photo, which they inevitably share on social media. The latest coastal phenomenon to be captured from the air is the socalled ‘whirlpool’, ‘cyclone’ or ‘shearing’ rip current.


Cast your imagination back 18,000 years. The Earth was in the grip of its last Ice Age, and so much of the ocean’s water volume was wrapped up in ice that sea levels were about 120 m lower than they are today. A beach like Bondi would have been a vegetated lowland valley. The

Our local beaches are where they are today because the beaches and sand of the old shoreline got pushed by wave action into old river valleys where they got stuck between the ocean and the rocks. It’s important to remember that geology is the main control on what our coastline looks like. For example, Wedding Cake Island off Coogee in Sydney is an old remnant ridge line that would have been bounded by rivers on both sides. If it wasn’t there, Coogee would receive bigger waves and would have sand bars and rip currents and decent surf. Sydney Harbour is the perfect harbour because it once was a deep valley that was drowned during the last major sea level rise. So, when it comes to our beaches, what you see is what you get.

Courtesy Surfline Bondi Beach would have been a vegetated lowland valley thousands of years ago.

From the beach, these rip currents are barely distinguishable due to the oblique viewing angle, but from above they show up as spectacular sand-filled masses of water draining and spiralling away from the beach. Images of these rip currents (above) were first captured and widely distributed in 2013 by Tom Cozad in California, USA, via Surfline. The amazing pictures captured viewers’ attention and demonstrated the pure power that rip currents possess. Since then, reports of ‘whirlpool’ rip currents have been popping up all over the world. Recently, pilot Tim Howes captured the strong currents at Lennox Head on the New South Wales Far North Coast. The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters in Western Australia have also reported regularly seeing them on their south-west coastline, including at Redgate Beach, the site of the drowning of bodyboarder Kane Nelson and the subject of a recent coronial inquest.

What are Whirlpools?

Although images of these rip currents may be rare, the processes involved in their occurrence are relatively common. They are correctly known as flash rip currents and are responsible for thousands of rescues every year on the Australian coastline. Associate Professor Rob Brander from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and head of the SLSA/UNSW RIPSAFE research team, explains the processes involved in generating these impressive spiralling rip currents. ‘When large swells hit beaches at an angle they can generate very strong alongshore currents. These currents become unstable as different sections move at different speeds. This creates instabilities in the alongshore current that can sometimes spin offshore as rip currents, 26 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

forming eddies just beyond the surf zone that can appear from the air as “whirlpools”,’ says Brander.

An Education Tool

Coastal Risk and Safety Manager at SLSA, Anthony Bradstreet, sees an opportunity to use these spectacular examples of rip currents to engage the community. ‘These rip currents capture people’s attention, and we need to use them to engage and educate people about rip currents.’ ‘The risk is that we can develop myths about these types of rip currents because they can look like fictitious whirlpools that drag ships underwater in stories,’ he says. ‘It is not the case, and they will not drag people underwater. They behave in a similar manner to other flash rip currents, pulsing water beyond the surf zone before dissipating.’ Further information about rip currents, including flash rip currents, can be found on the Beachsafe.org.au/ripcurrents website. Surf Life Saving Australia has been researching rip currents with the University of New South Wales as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant called RIPSAFE. The findings of the research are being implemented across Surf Life Saving over the coming season, including in the new Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue training manual.

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 27

education and training The Art of Giving Feedback

The Art of Giving Feedback education and training

The Art of Giving Feedback

Addressing Problems and Offering More Praise

Feedback is required for two main reasons: addressing problems, and offering praise. While one of these feedback practices may come naturally to you, it’s unlikely that both of them do. The Work of Leaders (WOL) research project analysed these two skills. Leaders were asked to rate how well they do with each of these practices. There were some interesting discoveries. Firstly, leaders are more than twice as likely to see themselves as very good at ‘giving praise’ as they are at ‘addressing problems’. Furthermore, in the WOL analysis, fewer than one in 12 leaders claim to excel at both feedback practices. Usually, a leader is good at one and not the other. They find it easy to offer praise but may find it hard to provide critical feedback. Or they are good at giving critical feedback but saying ‘thanks’ is too ‘gushy’. The best practice in driving a public safety team and constantly lifting the engagement of your lifeguards is on the right-hand side of the diagram below.  Management Styles Keep a calm, peaceful environment, tend to be uncomfortable about confronting others about problems

Tips for Offering Praise 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Reward behaviour that you’d like to see more frequently. Be specific. Get in early. Get the rewards right—develop a list of rewards suitable for your team and individuals. Be a fly on the wall—notice what employees do. Keep it simple—it’s often the little things that make a lasting impression (a personal note, a surf-wear voucher, applause at team debriefs etc.). Develop a recognition profile for your team members. Note key dates and facts—birthdays, start dates, partner’s name, children’s names.  Identify favourite things—hobbies and interests, coffee or tea, books and movies, pet peeves. Use these things in your reward suite. Identify ways to reward—preferred style of praise; develop a reward and recognition ideas list.

Deals with issues in a straightforward way, let others know when there are concerns

Maintain Harmony

Address Problems

Offer Less Praise

Offer More Praise

May be uncomfortable or feel it unnecessary to compliment others or recognise contributions

Top 10

Looks for opportunities to compliment others, recognise contributions

Addressing Problems

Tips for Addressing Problems • Develop an open culture where candid conversations are


hether you’re a senior lifeguard, duty manager or a lifeguard service manager, part of your leadership role will be to provide feedback to your team members. In this leadership article, Peter Agnew, Director at People Development Australia, explores the ‘feedback tightrope’ and provides advice on how you can get the best out of your team through addressing problems and providing praise while maintaining respect and harmony within the team.

Giving feedback is a crucial skill for leaders in the workplace, whether it’s in the office or with your team on the beach. Constant feedback in public safety organisations is vital to the safety of your team and the public. Feedback requires that you, as the leader, get involved. Some leaders see it as a discretionary task, one saved for annual reviews or when serious problems arise. That’s not the case. There is a delicate balance when giving feedback. Two opposing human needs are at the centre of all feedback: • Our need to learn and grow as a people; and • Our need to be accepted just the way we are. 28 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

encouraged: 365 feedback—give feedback every day of the year. • Decide whether the problem really does need to be addressed or if you need to alter your expectations. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  • Clearly identify what the problem is. Is it about missing a deadline or is it really about letting the team down and damaging their reputation? • Use assertive communications and models that may be helpful to provide structure: -- ‘I’ statements. I see, I feel, I want.  -- Feedback sandwich (positive, negative, positive). It’s sometimes controversial if you ‘flower’ negative feedback with positive feedback that masks the negative. Don’t make up positive feedback if there isn’t any. -- SBI—Situation, Behaviour, Impact. Describe the situation, the behaviour that you are concerned about, and what impact this behaviour has on you or your team. -- Be solution focused. To test self-awareness, ask for solutions first rather than telling problems. Focus on the solution (or problem) and not the people.

Addressing problems comes easily to some leaders. They roll up their sleeves and show some tough love leadership when required. In fact, some people actually enjoy criticising and calling others out. Schoolkids have a name for this: bullying. And be sure, if candour is done recklessly it kills transparency and improvement. For others, dealing with problems is tough. It means disrupting the harmony of the lifeguard team. Many leaders want to avoid confrontations or hurt feelings. They don’t want to interrupt the flow of progress. It’s easy to understand the temptation to smooth it all over. The goal in addressing problems is to develop a culture of candour, transparency and trust. A culture where modelling the right way to point out problems and give feedback can be done in an open, productive way. The skills and behaviours needed to set up such a culture are high level and require open communications, emotional intelligence and trust.

Offering Praise

Praise and reassurance. It might feel a little pathetic to say out loud or even admit it to ourselves, but more of our motivations, relationships and insecurities are driven by this psychological need than any other. We want to know that we have worth as people and that our team accepts us. When people feel valued by their leader and their team, it becomes a part of them. They internalise the group’s goals and their work has meaning. Conversely, when people don’t feel appreciated, they slowly remove themselves from the team emotionally. Generally, I find leaders fall into two categories. Leaders for whom offering praise comes naturally and they’re good at it. Others who don’t recognise that people need to be recognised (‘I pay them, why do I need to thank them?’), and those who find it difficult to provide recognition (‘I don’t have a suite of ways to recognise my lifeguard team’). 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 29

research Rocky Coast Risk Assessment Research

Rocky Coast Risk Assessment Research


he rocky coast is a hazardous environment. From 2004 to 2014, there were 178 fatalities on rocky coasts, accounting for 19 per cent of coastal drowning deaths in Australia.

will break onto the platform and wash people into the sea; and the number of people on the coast and their swimming ability.

Strategies to reduce the risk for users of this coastal environment are a priority of SLSA, which is currently in the first year of a three-year collaborative study, ‘Rocky Coasts: A framework for risk assessment in order to reduce drowning’, to quantify the risk of people using shore platforms. An Australian Research Council (ARC) grant was awarded to SLSA, the University of Melbourne and the University of Wollongong to create a wave hazard and risk framework for Australia’s coastal cliffs and rock platforms. Researchers from the universities are analysing geographical information, conducting fieldwork and reviewing models.

Traditionally, a field survey is required to measure the topography of a shore platform, but this is often prohibitively time consuming and expensive, especially when analysing large regions. Aerial marine and terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) surveying now provides researchers with the capability to quickly and quantitatively map the coast, allowing for regional assessments of coastal morphology.

Rocks are risky business

The risk that rocky coast users face is a function of several factors: the size of the waves that impact the shore; the likelihood that these waves


The morphological elements of the shore—depth at the front of the platform and the platform elevation—are key to understanding the likelihood of wave overwash known as morphological exposure.

Surf Life Saving Australia

National Coastal Safety Report 2014

Laser surveying using data sets from the New South Wales and Victorian coast has been found to be a highly valuable way to assess hazard and can provide managers with the ability to rapidly assess and map drowning risk. The research is due for completion in 2016.

10-year Average Beach-related Drowning Deaths % 10-year Average Rocky-coast-related Drowning Deaths %

Percentage (%)

50 40 30 20 10 0

2004- 2005- 2006- 2007- 2008- 2009- 2010- 2011- 2012- 201305 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14

2004–14: Beach and Rocky-coast-related Drowning Deaths The percentage of drowning deaths at beach locations has decreased by 9% over the 10-year period. Rocky-coast-related drowning deaths continue to increase, now 6% greater than the 10-year average.

National Overview The following report is a national summary of coastal drowning deaths in Australia from the National Coastal Safety Report 2014. To download the full report, including state breakdowns, visit sls.com.au/publications

30 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition


Surf Life Saving Australia

National Coastal Safety Report 2014

Drowning Analysis

National Overview

Numbers on bars represent total deaths

Number (n)








118 0.4









69 0.2

40 20 0












Coastal Drowning Deaths Crude Drowning Rate Per 100,000

1.8 1.6


1.4 1.2


1.0 15

0.8 0.6


Rate (per 100,000 pop.)



Number (n)

No COD Listed COD Listed

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)







0.2 0 NSW







2004–14: 10-year Trend of National Coastal Drowning Deaths

2013–14: Coastal Drowning Deaths by State (n=84)

National coastal drowning death numbers and crude drowning rates for 2004–14 are shown above. The 10-year average rate per 100,000 population is 0.43 and number is 93, the rate for 2013–14 is 0.36 and number is 84.

Of the 84 coastal drowning deaths, 30 (36%) occurred in New South Wales, 15 (18%) in Queensland, 15 (18%) in Victoria, nine (11%) in Western Australia, seven (8%) in South Australia, four (5%) in Tasmania and four (5%) in Northern Territory.




Female Male




0.14 Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft Attempting a Rescue Diving Snorkelling Rock/Cliff Related Other Unknown

0.12 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0 2004-05










Number (n)

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)



8 0.6 6 0.4



2 0


















85+ unknown


2004–14: 10-year Coastal Drowning Deaths by Activity

2013–14: Coastal Drowning Deaths by Age Group and Sex (n=84)

The national rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur vary over time. The rates of swimming and wading (0.08 vs. 0.13 average rate per 100,000 pop.), boating (0.06 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 pop.), rock fishing (0.05 vs. 0.06 average rate per 100,000 pop.) and snorkelling (0.004 vs. 0.02 average rate per 100,000 pop.) are all below the 10-year average rate. Watercraft (0.03 rate per 100,000 pop.) and attempting a rescue (0.02 rate per 100,000 pop.) activities have rates equal to the 10-year averages. Diving (0.03 vs. 0.02 average rate per 100,000 pop.), rock/cliff related (0.02 vs. 0.01 rate per 100,000 pop.) and other (0.03 vs. 0.02 average rate per 100,000 pop.) activities have a higher rate this year than the 10-year average. Other activities include vehicular events, plane crash and falls.

The age groups representing the highest rates of fatalities are 80-84 years (n=5, 1.12 rate per 100,000 pop.) and 60-64 years (n=12, 0.98 rate per 100,000 pop.). Of the 84 fatalities, 75 (89%) were male.

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)


Drowning Terminology research Surf Life Saving Australia

National Coastal Safety Report 2014

Drowning Terminology

National Overview

Not What it Used to Be



6.0% 8.3%

Several taskforces were formed with the aim of developing an international consensus on a number of issues around the management of drowning.


1.2% 6.0%

Prior to this conference there was no real agreement on terminology between countries or organisations, making it difficult to interpret research or compare data.

25.0% 38.1%



Swimming/ Wading



8.3% 14.3%

Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft Diving Rock/Cliff Related Attempting a Rescue Snorkelling Other Unknown

2013–14: Coastal Drowning Deaths by Activity (n=84) The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred when an individual was participating in swimming or wading (19, 22.6%), boating (15, 17.9%), rock fishing (12, 14.3%), using non-powered watercraft (7, 8.3%) or scuba diving (7, 8.3%).


The first of the 13 major recommendations of this group was that there should be a single universal definition for drowning.

Beach Beach Offshore Rock/Cliff Marina/Jetty


2013–14: Location of Coastal Drowning Deaths (n=84) There were 32 coastal drowning deaths which occurred at a beach, 28 occurred offshore and 21 occurred at a rock/cliff location. The percentages illustrate a reduction in beach drowning deaths (38.1% from 52.9%) and an increase in offshore (33.3% from 18.2%) and rock/cliff locations (25% from 19%) when compared with last year (2012-13).



51.2% Greater than 5km



Greater than 5km Less than 1km 1km to 5km


Although endorsed by the World Health Organization in 2005, this terminology has yet to be fully adopted by all health professionals, academics, researchers, those working in the aquatic safety field and mainstream media.

Greater than 50km 10km to 50km Less than 10km International Unknown

2013–14: Distance from Drowning Location to a Lifesaving Service (n=84)

2013–14: Distance from Residence to Drowning Location (n=84)

Forty-three individuals (51.2%) drowned further than 5km from the nearest lifesaving club. No coastal drowning deaths occurred between the red and yellow flags.

Thirty-three individuals (39.3%) lived further than 50km from the drowning location, and 12 coastal drowning deaths (14.3%) involved international tourists.

Current (accepted) terminology Drowning

Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid.

Non-fatal drowning

Survival after drowning. It is further classified as non-fatal drowning with morbidity or no morbidity.

Fatal drowning

Death due to drowning.

Other (accepted) terminology Submersion

The whole body is under water.


Part of the body is covered in water (for drowning to occur the face and airway would have to be immersed).

As lifeguards, we have a responsibility to promote the use of internationally agreed terminology to the public, in our practice, in medical reports and through the media. Part of it is demonstrating that we are up to date with current international thinking.


Drowning episode is observed from the onset of immersion or submersion.


Victim found in water, no-one saw the event.

It will also help to improve the quality of the data we are able to collect about drowning and our ability to contribute to improvements in resuscitation techniques through research.

Old (abandoned) terminology

Implications for Practice

We strongly encourage all healthcare professionals to start using the current terminology.

Kevin Moran Principal Lecturer in Health and Physical Education Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand k.moran@auckland.ac.nz


Greater than 50km


This recommendation was subsequently adopted by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) and, in 2003, a glossary of terms and definitions for a revised Utstein template (guidelines for uniform reporting on cardiac arrest), along with guidelines for the uniform reporting of data from drowning was published.

Peter Jones Director of Emergency Medicine Research Adult Emergency Department, Auckland City Hospital Auckland, New Zealand

3.6% 22.6%

n 2002, the World Congress on Drowning was held in the Netherlands. This meeting involved a wide range of experts in the fields of water safety, lifesaving and resuscitation (both pre- and in-hospital basic and advanced life support).

Jonathon Webber Honorary Senior Clinical Tutor Department of Anaesthesiology, The University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand Reproduced with permission. This article was originally published in the New Zealand Medical Journal,NZMJ 22 November 2013, Vol 126 No 1386; ISSN 1175 8716 URL: http://journal.nzma.org. nz/journal/126-1386/5921/

As lifeguards, we have a responsibility to promote the use of internationally agreed terminology

Dry and wet drowning

As all drownings occur in liquid, they are by definition wet. It is impossible to tell at the scene whether water has been aspirated into the lungs (and in most drowning incidents it has anyway); these terms are redundant.

Active or passive drowning

Replaced by Witnessed or Unwitnessed.

Secondary drowning

Used previously to describe both the events precipitating a drowning episode and the development of post-drowning effects on the lung. Now descriptions of such events are to be explicit this term has become redundant.


This term has been used for both survivors of drowning and for those who died at some point in time after initial resuscitation was successful, creating confusion. This term should not be used as people either survive the drowning episode or they do not (see above). The international drowning prevention community have regarded this term as obsolete for more than 10 years since drowning was defined as a process rather than a product. Just as you wouldn’t say someone had a ‘near-asthma attack’, so too with drowning.

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 35

national drowning prevention summit research

National Drowning Prevention Summit 2014 Rip Current Forum Held at SLSA Courtesy Tom Cozad


urf Life Saving Australia hosted the Rip Current Forum on 28 February 2014. At the forum, the RIPSAFE research team presented their initial findings into the physical science and social geography of rip currents. RIPSAFE is a collaboration between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and SLSA with funding from an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant.

The forum, attended by leading academics, beach safety professionals, professional lifeguards and public education and communications practitioners from around Australia, was an excellent opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share ideas and collaborate. Key aims of the forum were to create awareness of the outcomes from the RIPSAFE project and identify strategic actions for rip current safety, including evidenced-based public education and communications strategies. Feedback was extremely positive from attendees that as an industry we’re on the right track.

Geophysical Science Research

Jak McCarroll (UNSW) spoke about the geophysical science research, which included multiple experiments on several beaches using floaters and people linked to GPS trackers. The research revealed that rip currents are an extremely complex hazard and their behaviour can vary




A beach with circulating and non-circulating rip currents. 36 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

dramatically between beaches, on the same beach, with changes in tides and waves, and from one minute to the next. Results of the experiments indicate that no single escape or survival strategy will work all the time and in all types of rip currents, and a combination of responses may be required to ensure survival.

Social Science Research

Dr Danielle Drozdzewski (UNSW) discussed the social science research, which included an online survey and interviews. The results indicate that many people who become caught in rip currents swim outside the flags or at unpatrolled locations, and that even though many believe they can spot a rip current, they still become caught in them. Respondents remembered a variety of messages regarding rip currents. Fear and swimming ability are potentially problematic issues with some safety messages.


Associate Professor Rob Brander (UNSW) presented revised principles for surviving rip currents based on the results of the RIPSAFE project. The core of the principles is that rip currents are highly variable dynamic systems that may require a combination of responses from swimmers to enable them to successfully escape or survive. The principles outline the viable options available to a person caught in a rip current, and show how they relate to each other as part of a choice matrix (see also p. 58).

Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes (University of Sydney) introduced the audience to the concepts of natural hazards and disaster risk reduction. Dale maintains, ‘It’s important to understand the public’s perception of rip current risk, as it will help us to know what messages to send out regarding rip currents.’ Dale suggested that many agencies are moving to employ communications strategies for different hazard types under the risk reduction model, and that a toolkit exists that can be translated into the surf safety context.


he Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) hosted the National Drowning Prevention Summit 2014 in Sydney on 5–6 August 2014 at the Parkroyal Darling Harbour, Sydney. The summit provided a vital focus to the AWSC’s goal: reducing drowning deaths by 50 per cent by 2020.

Day two’s keynote speaker was Janine Scott, General Manager Marketing and Communications at beyondblue. Janine’s topic was ‘What we know about men’. With men drowning at a rate four times that of women, communicating effectively with men is a challenge for our sector. In the session Janine demonstrated how beyondblue has been successful in communicating with men through its Man Therapy and Anxiety campaigns.

A series of symposiums created an opportunity for water safety and drowning prevention experts to review the progress of the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012–15 and identify the next steps required to achieve this goal.

Featured Speakers

Keynote speaker Mark McCrindle, a social researcher, trends analyst and demographer, started the summit with a demographic snapshot of Australia now and towards 2020. Mark spoke about the importance of understanding data and demographics in order to have the ability to engage with people and best connect with communities. Clear trend lines can be used by us to better shape drowning prevention strategies and communication. He also identified the challenges facing drowning prevention across the three Australian Water Safety Strategy priority areas. It was a great way to get the summit started.

The summit provided a vital focus to the AWSC’s goal: reduce drowning deaths by 50 per cent by 2020

The summit featured speakers from across the water safety and emergency service sector as well as academics. The presentations were arranged into groups of three, each of 10-minutes duration. In each group, one presentation featured research, another discussed policy and the third covered practice. Each group of presentations addressed a particular Australian Water Safety Strategy 2012–15 priority area. Following the presentations, an interactive panel discussion was held where additional panel members were invited to the stage to take part and respond to questions. The summit ended with an open discussion about refining some of the AWSC’s individual goals in achieving the 50 per cent drowning reduction target by 2020. The industry was represented by lifeguards from several council services.

Further Reading For a copy of the program and the presentations visit the website: http://www.watersafety.com.au/ Events/2014Summit.aspx.

research community perceptions

community perceptions research

community PERCEPTIONs






here is a significant lack of awareness among the Australian public about the hazards posed by the coast and the beach.

4% 3% 15%

• The coast is not perceived as hazardous by the general population— 48 per cent view the coast as not very or not at all hazardous, and a further 38 per cent of people believe it is only somewhat hazardous. • The swimming ability of the general public in the ocean is low—only 35 per cent of people can swim 50 m in the ocean without stopping. • People overestimate their ability to identify hazards such as rip currents—only 36 per cent of people correctly identified a rip current. • Participants in coastal activities do not follow key safety procedures— only 43 per cent of people usually swim between the flags; 28 per cent usually swim at patrolled beaches out of patrol hours; 21 per cent usually swim at unpatrolled locations; only 16 per cent of fishers and 46 per cent of boaters always wear a lifejacket. This lack of respect for the water, people’s poor swimming ability in the ocean and their low level of adherence to safety procedures form a dangerous combination that has contributed to coastal drowning deaths. Surf Life Saving Australia has identified the need for a public awareness campaign to influence perception of coastal hazards. It is the first step on the journey to improving safety practices and reducing drowning deaths among beachgoers and coastal users. The aim is to increase people’s understanding of and respect for the water, to improve resilience to coastal hazards and ultimately reduce drowning deaths among beachgoers and coastal users.


Not Very Hazardous 33%

Extremely Hazardous Very Hazardous Somewhat Hazardous Not Very Hazardous Not at all Hazardous Can't Say

2013–14: Hazard Perception of the Coast Question: How hazardous do you believe the coast to be? One in 10 Australians believe the coast to be extremely or very hazardous, while 33% perceive it to be not very hazardous and 15% believe it to be not at all hazardous.



28% 38%

3% 2% 6%

Patrolled Beach During Patrolled Hours Only Patrolled Beach, but Not Always During Patrolled Hours Unpatrolled Beach Rock Pool Harbour Pool Netted or Enclosed Pool Can’t Say

Not at all Hazardous



Can't Say



Unable to Swim

7% Weak Swimmer

2013–14: Hazard Perception of the Beach Question: How hazardous do you believe the beach to be? Less than 10% of the Australian population see the beach as very or extremely hazardous. More than half of all Australians believe the beach is not very (38%) or not at all (15%) hazardous.

Average Swimmer

Competent Swimmer

Highly Competent Swimmer

2013–14: Usual Swimming Location

2013–14: Swimming Ability of the Australian Public

Question: Where do you usually go swimming in the ocean? Less than half of the Australian population (43%) usually swim at patrolled beaches while 28% swim at patrolled beaches outside of patrol hours. More than one in five Australians (21%) usually swim at unpatrolled locations.

Question: How would you rate your swimming ability? And how would you rate your swimming ability in the ocean? Australians rate themselves as less competent swimmers in the ocean than in pools or other locations. While 35% of people say they are competent or highly competent swimmers in general, only 24% of people rate themselves as competent or highly competent swimmers in the ocean.





More than 5 years ago






Extremely Hazardous Very Hazardous Somewhat Hazardous Not Very Hazardous Not at all Hazardous Can’t Say







Unpatrolled Beach


Surf Life Saving Australia’s 2014 National Coastal Safety Survey revealed:

Swimming Ability in General Able to Swim 50m in the Ocean without Stopping 29%

2% 3%

Able to Swim 50m in a Pool Able to Swim 50m in the Ocean without Stopping without Stopping




This Year Last Year 2 to 5 Years Ago More than 5 Years Ago Never Can’t Say

2013–14: Ability to Swim 50m Without Stopping

2013–14: Frequency of Swimming More than 50m in the Ocean

Question: Are you currently able to swim 50m without stopping? Are you currently able to swim 50m in the ocean without stopping? While 60% of people are able to swim 50m or more without stopping in a pool or other enclosed body of water, only 35% of people say they are able to swim 50m in the ocean.

Question: When was the last time you swam 50m or further in the ocean? One quarter of Australians have swum more than 50m in the ocean in the last 18 months, while 29% of people have never swum more than 50m in the ocean. Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey 2014

deadly paradise? lifesaving Box jellyfish

© Gary Bell/OceanwideImages.com

BoxJellyfish 24M1211-13 BGextend

Facts Name: Box jellyfish, chironex

Distribution: Tropical Australian waters Signs and Symptoms: Instant and severe burning skin pain, with what looks like whip or burn marks on the skin. Adherent tentacles are often still present, especially if severely stung. The patient may rapidly lose consciousness and stop breathing. Treatment: Call an ambulance, remove the patient from the water and restrain if necessary. Follow DRSABCD. Flood the stung area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds, and pick off any remaining tentacles. Referral is required for all.

e r u t a e f

Deadly Paradise?

Three Tropical Creatures You Want to Avoid


ustralia’s tropics are home to some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. According to James Cook University wildlife expert and venom biologist Dr Jamie Seymour, three in particular are a big problem for lifeguards: the box jellyfish, the irukandji jellyfish and the saltwater crocodile.

‘It changes the entire way someone uses the beach, put it that way,’ he says. ‘It’s not a major problem, if people follow the rules. But if people don’t follow the rules, it can be a big issue.’

Box Jellyfish

The box jellyfish or chironex (Chironex fleckeri) has caused more than 60 deaths on Australian beaches since records began in 1883. No other venomous creature kills humans faster than a box jellyfish. If someone is stung by a box jellyfish with tentacles measuring longer than 2–3 m, death can occur within minutes, according to Dr Seymour. ‘A big sting from a big box jellyfish is fatal,’ he says. ‘So anything over 2 to 3 m will cause death. Most people die before they get out of the water.’ The toxin in its tentacles is so deadly because it targets the heart; nature has designed it to cause cardiac standstill in fish and other sea creatures. A large enough sting will cause exactly the same scenario in humans, Dr Seymour says. ‘There’s two sides to a sting,’ he says. ‘You’ll get immediate pain. It’s like getting a red hot knife to the skin. Then, if you get enough venom, it goes straight to the heart and you’ll end up with the person going into cardiac arrest.’ 40 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

The toxin is also dermonecrotic—it immediately kills skin cells in humans and causes intense scarring. If not properly treated, a sting that doesn’t kill can leave scarring for as long as seven years. Box jellyfish start to breed and become noticeable in the months leading up to summer, the build-up period. By December, they’re quite common and may be a large size—the ‘bell’ sometimes measuring up to 20 cm across—with tentacles up to 3 m in length. A fully grown jellyfish can weight up to 2 kg. Prior to summer, beaches in Queensland have nets in place, which are checked daily. In the Northern Territory, there are no nets, so swimmers should wear protective clothing and swim in areas deemed safe by lifeguards. Deaths are rare if people follow the guidelines on how to stay safe: swim within marked areas, and wear a protective stinger suit if you can. ‘Not everyone does the right thing,’ North Queensland Lifeguard Supervisor Jay March says. ‘Most people who get stung by the box jellyfish are outside the nets. If people follow the protocols we have in place, we’ll keep everyone as safe as we can.’

Top 10 dangerous stingers in Australia As ranked by Australian Geographic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Box jellyfish European wasp Honey bee Bull ants Bluebottle Stingrays Stonefish Cone snail Platypus Centipedes

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 41

Lifesaving deadly paradise?

Irukandji © Jack Barnes

‘The nets around our swimming areas don’t stop the irukandji,’ Jay March says. ‘But they’re only around in certain weather conditions and we’ll do our best to monitor that. Soon as we find the animals, we’ll shut the beach for 24 hours, have a drag of the net and clear it out, then we’ll open the beach again. ‘If people are going into the water, they should be wearing their PPE—or their stinger suits,’ March says. ‘It’s the only way to be certain of protecting yourself from something that’s almost invisible.’


While the saltwater crocodile may be the most fearsome-looking of our tropical trio, it is actually responsible for the fewest deaths, at least on beaches. ‘There hasn’t been a fatal crocodile attack on Darwin Harbour beaches for more than 120 years,’ Surf Lifesaving Northern Territory CEO Tony Snelling says. ‘I’m aware of three non-fatal attacks in the past 35 years; they’re very, very rare. And of those three that I’m aware of, at least one, probably two of them, were people actually provoking the crocodile.’ Crocodiles are strictly a problem in the Northern Territory’s wet season, or over the traditional summer months, when they become more active as the water warms up. They start to migrate, looking for mates and nesting sites. To keep the public safe, Surf Lifesaving Northern Territory has, working with the local wildlife rescue organisation, set up about 30 crocodile traps around Darwin Harbour. The traps are designed to catch wayward crocs that may have stumbled into the harbour area, says Snelling.

Irukandji Jellyfish

It’s only about the size of a five-cent coin, but the irukandji jellyfish has venom that is 100 times more potent than a king cobra’s, and 1,000 times more than a tarantula’s. Only two deaths are recorded as a direct result of envenomation by the irukandji, but a sting will leave most people hospitalised with ‘irukandji syndrome’: symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sweating, headaches, agitation, a rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure. The jellyfish is named after the indigenous Irukandji people of Palm Cove, 27 km north of Cairns. They knew of an invisible danger lurking in their waters, but could never find a culprit. Sometimes people don’t even know they’ve been stung until the symptoms of irukandji syndrome begin to show up. ‘The immediate sting is mild,’ Dr Seymour says. ‘Most people liken it to sea lice. But after 20 minutes, because there’s a delay in the system, everything goes wrong.’ He says people will start experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, but are unlikely to die from the sting. ‘There’s only been two deaths from that animal around the world,’ he says. ‘One from the Whitsundays, and one from Cairns. The majority of people that are stung by the irukandji are just going to be in pain for 24 hours and get a trip to the hospital.’ The last person to die from an irukandji jellyfish sting was 44-year-old American tourist Robert King in 2002. For most of the time, the irukandji jellyfish live in deep water; they come closer to shore only in certain weather conditions, such as after a northerly wind, and occasionally during monsoon season. 42 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

‘It’s like a long tube of metal mesh or grip; a bit like a security grill on a front door,’ he says. ‘One end of the tube is sealed off. There’s bait hanging from the roof of the trap—usually a pig’s head or a sheep’s leg. And at the other end, there is a sliding gate that’s pulled up and held in place by a mechanism connected to the bait. So a croc Facts can swim into the trap, pull down on the bait and Name: Irukandji jellyfish that door will shut on the other end.’ Distribution: Tropical Australian When one is caught, Parks and Wildlife is alerted waters and the animal is sent off to a crocodile farm. Signs and Symptoms: Initial minor sting that may show ‘goose pimples’; localised sweating or itching feeling. The sting is followed by a characteristic time delay of 5–40 minutes (usually 25–30 minutes). After the delay, the patient may experience backache, muscle cramps, nausea, headache and anxiety, a sense of impending doom, and sometimes a red rash around the affected area. Treatment: Observe the patient’s airway, breathing and level of consciousness. Send for medical aid urgently, and rest and reassure the patient. Flood the stung area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds.

Not all crocs are caught with a trap, and lifeguards have come across some sunbathing on beaches. These animals are often in transit, Snelling says.

Saltwater crocodile

‘Most crocodiles that end up on a beach are either resting, sick, or exhausted,’ he says. ‘They’re more than likely trying to swim to harbours and estuaries—places that are suitable for them to live in.’

Crocodile Quick Facts Australia is home to two species of crocodile, the freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni), which is found nowhere else in the world, and the vulnerable estuarine or saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). In spite of their common names, both species can live in fresh or salt water.

The region’s lifeguards have protocols in place to deal with any crocodiles that may be spotted. ‘We’ll close the beach immediately,’ Snelling says. ‘Then we’ll keep the animal under as close an observation as possible. We’ll call Parks and Wildlife, and they’ll act to keep it under control— they have ways of catching and moving the crocodile.’ In one recent incident, a crocodile was discovered on Darwin’s Mindil Beach. ‘That one resisted all attempts to move,’ Snelling recalls. ‘We used the ATV to try and intimidate it a bit with the siren, the horn, revving the motor, anything to try and frighten it and move it on. But he just would not move. Crocs are a bit like that—they have minds of their own and they’re sometimes a bit impervious to what you and I would regard as a threat.’ Despite the occasional sighting, Snelling reminds beachgoers that there has not been a death caused by a crocodile on Darwin’s beaches in well over a century.

there has not been a death caused by a crocodile on Darwin’s beaches in well over a century

• Modern crocodiles have been around for about 100 million years, and their ancestors first appeared about 240 million years ago. • Crocodiles can live for up to 70 years and can grow to between 4 and 5 m. • Baby crocs start out weighing just 60 g, but the largest adult males can reach close to 1,000 kg. • The average density of crocodiles across tropical Australian rivers is five crocs per kilometre, but the Mary River in the Northern Territory can average as many as 20 crocs per kilometre. • Crocodiles have 68 fearsome teeth in their jaws that replenish constantly if broken off. A large croc can exert more than 2 tonnes of pressure with its bite. • Crocodiles can swim as fast as 10 km/h and can run over open ground at up to 11 km/h for short bursts.

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 43

health and fitness


Tips to Keep You Fighting Fresh this Summer

By Emily Gilles, Empowered PT www.facebook.com/Empowered-PT


erfect waves, tanned bodies, good friends and gorgeous Aussie weather. Living the dream beach lifestyle as a lifeguard is a pretty fantastic way to spend your summers. Keeping both your mind and body in optimal condition will give you the energy you need to last the long days, allowing you to get the most out of your summer!

1Drink Plenty of Water 2 Eat Breakfast

Around 2–3 L per day, extra if you’re training.

Not sugar-filled cereals or toast. Get up 5–10 minutes earlier and make some real food for brekkie. Something like eggs, tomato, mushrooms or an omelette with anything you have in the fridge. A protein smoothie is a great way to start the day and easy to whip up.


Get Enough Sleep

Studies have shown that for basic human functioning the majority of people require 8 hours sleep per night. It can’t be added up over time, so if you have 5 hours, then 11 hours, it doesn’t balance out. There’s not anything ‘basic’ about spending all day at the beach alert and in and out of the water. So, I’d recommend 8–10 hours per night depending on how you feel when you wake up.


Eat Enough Fat and Protein

A diet high in carbohydrates sends our blood sugar levels all over the place and can leave us feeling shattered halfway through the day. Ensure you eat good fat (avocado, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, grass-fed meat fat, activated raw nuts) because it helps our bodies absorb nutrients from other foods, and our brain to function more efficiently. Protein is vital for every cell process in our body to function optimally. Think of protein as the building blocks of your body. As a lifeguard, it is vital to rebuild and regenerate your muscles. Protein and fat also help tell our bodies we are full, and keep us fuller for longer due to the longer digestion process.



Keeping fit and ready to roll as a lifeguard is paramount. Focus on HIIT (high intensity interval training, e.g. short sprints for 15 minutes) and resistance training to keep your body strong and fit for the type of short explosive bouts of exercise you do as a lifeguard. If you haven’t weight trained before, I’d recommend seeing a personal trainer to begin so they can assist with correct form to ensure success.

Keeping both your mind and body in optimal condition will give you the energy you need to last the long days

44 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

health and fitness

The Travelling Chef Hayden Quinn


he last time we caught up with ex-Warringah lifeguard Hayden Quinn was in Issue 6 when he graced our cover following a successful stint on the popular MasterChef series.

Since then it has been a rollercoaster ride for Quinn. So, we thought we’d steal 5 minutes from his busy schedule to find out what he’s been up to and ask him if there’s still any lifeguarding left in him! LIFEGUARD: So, what have you been up to lately?

DIY Rice Bowl

QUINN: To keep it real short and simple: Lots! I just had a show in South Africa finish airing last week (Hayden Quinn South Africa), we also just finished filming a new show for Australian television called The Dinner Project (airing this November on LifeStyle FOOD). Aside from TV, I am also in the booze business as a partner in a new Aussie wine label named Kooks (some would say named after my current surfing abilities) and then on the flip side of treating the body, myself and two long-time buddies own a small strength and conditioning gym in Brookvale (on the Northern Beaches of Sydney) called The Cube Gym. LIFEGUARD: Wow, you’ve really got your hands full! What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in your travels? QUINN: The coolest thing I have done would have to have been tracking rhino on foot in the bushveld in South Africa. Just me, a camera, a soundo and three African trackers. We saw five rhino no further away than a 25-m swimming pool. So, it was pretty sweet. LIFEGUARD: It doesn’t sound much like work … and a long way from lifeguarding. How would you describe your ‘official’ job now? QUINN: Good question. Well, I am not doing any lifeguarding any more, not that I don’t want to, I just keep missing the yearly seminars and can’t get a job! (I’m actually keen to do a bit of casual lifeguarding over summer holidays if anyone needs someone.) I guess It’s a food-travellifestyle media job? I don’t really know, that’s the fun part. Then there are the business interests with Kooks and The Cube Gym. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag. LIFEGUARD: Have you managed to keep the beach a huge part of your lifestyle while you’ve been busy? QUINN: The beach is still an almost everyday part of life. I live right by the water in Manly and get down to the beach most mornings either for a look, a swim or a surf. Then while we are working wherever we may be, I try to take the boards or find some way to link the ocean into what we are doing. LIFEGUARD: What’s next for lifeguardings’ most famous chef? QUINN: Well, there may be some talk of a potential restaurant, but that’s just talk at the moment! LIFEGUARD: Sounds like a LIFEGUARD scoop—you heard it here first!

with Lots of Pickles


his recipe from Hayden Quinn is a delicious and healthy combo of rice, spiced mince or veg, and a selection of pickles. All elements can be made ahead of time. This dish is designed for work lunches, quick dinners and times you want some good health in a bowl! Preparation is key! For each of your pickles, have yourself a sterilised jar ready to transfer your pickle to. The quantities will make more than enough to use time and again.

Spiced Mince or Veg Coconut oil

Preparation time 45 minutes (the day before)

1 tablespoon coriander, ground

Serves 4

Pickled Ginger 10cm knob of ginger, peeled and finely sliced

Pickled Mushrooms 1 teaspoon sesame oil

60ml white vinegar

150g shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, quartered (if small enough, leave whole)

½ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar Quick Sauerkraut 1 small purple cabbage, shredded ½ tablespoon salt 60ml white vinegar

Pickled Ginger Combine all ingredients in a small Mason jar until the salt and sugar dissolve. Allow to stand (pickle) in the fridge overnight. Quick Sauerkraut With your hands, mush together the cabbage, vinegar, water and salt. Add to a large Mason jar, covering well with the pickling liquid. Allow to stand at room temperature overnight. Quinn links his work to his love of the ocean at every opportunity.

150g shimiji mushrooms, trimmed 1 small red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped 3 tablespoon rice vinegar 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon caster sugar

Pickled Mushrooms Heat a large pan over high heat, and add oil, mushrooms and chilli; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, add vinegar and

1 tablespoon garam masala 1 tablespoon cumin, ground

500g mince (e.g. lean beef, pork, kangaroo, venison, game) or veg (e.g. eggplant or ‘cauliflower rice’) Water To Serve 4 cups cooked short-grain white, brown, black or red rice (the choice is yours) 1½ cup mixed leaves 1 carrot, julienned ½ cup walnuts, crushed 4 soft boiled eggs Olive oil, to dress

30ml hot water

Putting it all together

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

½ tablespoon turmeric, ground (you can use fresh)

Cooking time 20 minutes

60ml hot water

1 red onion, cut into wedges

Apple cider vinegar, to dress

sugar and cook, stirring for a further 2 minutes or until mushrooms are glazed. If using immediately, keep warm until ready to serve. Alternatively add to a medium-sized Mason jar. Spiced Mince or Veg Using the same pan as the mushrooms, over high heat, add the oil, onion and garlic and cook until aromatic. Reduce the heat and add spices, stirring continuously until lightly toasted and nice and aromatic. Add your mince or veg to the pan and combine well with all the spices. Continue to cook until all mince or veg is coloured, adding enough water to create a thick sauce, stir well. Here you can serve warm

with the rice bowl or divide between containers and freeze for later meals. To Serve To serve, add one cup of cooked rice to a large bowl and top with your own selection of pickles, mince or veg, mixed leaves, carrot, walnuts, soft boiled eggs and dress generously with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Tip If you are not up for making your own pickles, they can be bought ready-made from greengrocers, Asian supermarkets or most larger chains. 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 45

Lifejackets in the Surf Zone gear and equipment

Lifejackets in the Surf Zone

Top 10 Big wave surf spots around the world 1 Waimea, Hawaii, USA 2 Mavericks, California, USA 3 Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico 4 Cortes Bank, San Diego, USA 5 Punta de Lobos, Chile 6 Dungeons, South Africa 7 Mullaghmore Head, Ireland 8 Priae do Norte, Portugal 9 Shipstern Bluff, Australia 10 Teahupoo, Tahiti


ifejackets are crucial pieces of safety equipment for boaters and others. But should swimmers in the surf zone wear them? Surf Life Saving Australia is considering the future role of low-buoyancy lifejackets in surf lifesaving beyond powercraft. One of the key strategies used worldwide to prevent drowning has been promoting the use of lifejackets. These are worn and designed with enough buoyancy to keep an individual’s mouth clear of the water to maintain their airway and therefore prevent drowning. Their importance for mariners is paramount and is a key safety component of the 1914 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), along with lifeboats. Their role in the blue water environment is without question, but it has not been the case in the surf environment. Buoyancy is a double-edged sword. When in distress, lots of buoyancy ensures that a person’s airway is protected and clear of the water. This same buoyancy that is a lifesaver for some can be a hazard for competent swimmers in the surf zone. Competent swimmers are able to dive deep under waves, avoiding the turbulence and any debris propelled by the waves. This ability can be restricted by excessive buoyancy. Over recent years, we have seen many examples of competent swimmers drowning in the surf zone on craft and while swimming. In Surf Life

46 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Low-buoyancy lifejackets

What if you could wear a lifejacket with just enough buoyancy to return you to the surface, but it didn’t impede your performance or diving ability to avoid turbulence and stray craft? These are the questions that Surf Life Saving has been asking. The challenge has been to develop a technical specification for a low-buoyancy lifejacket product that: 1. 2. 3.

cutting-edge research

By partnering with James Cook University and SAI Global, Surf Life Saving Australia has conducted a range of experiments and testing to deliver a technical specification for low-buoyancy lifejackets. This specification details the requirements to deliver low-buoyancy lifejackets that don’t inhibit high-performance activities, and also minimise any secondary risks. By producing this specification and giving the evidence to Standards Australia, a new level 25 class of lifejacket will be introduced into the revised Australian Standard AS4758:1-3 due to be released for consultation in late 2014. Over the 2014–15 summer, further testing will be conducted around Australia of prototype level 25 lifejackets in the surf zone. This testing is critical to ensuring that the products are fit-for-purpose. A final report on the project will be delivered to the SLSA Board in May 2015 for consideration on their future role in surf lifesaving activities.

Questions will be asked. What benefits do they offer? What hazards do they present? Do they help provide a safer environment for our personnel? Early indicators are that these devices may offer significant benefits to improve safety, particularly during periods of heightened risk. The question then becomes, do surf lifesaving and lifeguarding organisations have a culture that is willing to accept and embrace lifejacket use beyond powercraft?

© ASP/ Kirstin.

Saving, we lost three competitors at the Australian Championships: Robert Gatenby, Saxon Bird and, most recently, Matthew Barclay. All were elite competitors for their divisions, qualified lifesavers and eminently competent surf swimmers. In the United States, lifeguard and waterman Ben Carlson went missing while undertaking a rescue in challenging conditions at Newport Beach, California. Big-wave surfer Sion Milosky also drowned at Mavericks, California, after a two-wave hold down in 2011. In all of these cases, the body was lost underwater for more than 20 minutes, compounding the effects of submersion beyond the 4-minute golden window for CPR intervention. Could these outcomes have been different if they’d been wearing a lifejacket?

This is a challenging scenario for an organisation considering their use in policy. No guarantees can be made for the manufacture and performance of the current low-buoyancy range. If the organisation doesn’t have confidence in the product, it should not endorse its use since it may either provide a false sense of security, or introduce secondary risks if the buoyancy is too great. There’s a clear need for stringent controls and accreditations of these devices to ensure reliable performance.

It is still too early to determine how these devices may be used in surf lifesaving and surf sports policy. However, the attitude towards their use in the surf zone appears to be changing. At the 2014 Billabong Pro at Teahupoo, Tahiti, organisers provided optional lifejackets to competitors and many of the world’s elite surfers chose to wear them in the huge conditions. Lifejacket wear has also been mandated among inflatable rescue boat (IRB) operators in Surf Life Saving, bringing them into line with rescue water craft (RWC) operators who have worn them for many years. Role modelling is important to break down stigmas around lifejacket use.

Sydney surfer, Matt Wilkinson, wore a lifejacket at Teahupoo during the Billabong Pro Tahiti in 2014.

By Anthony Bradstreet, Coastal Risk and Safety Manager, SLSA

development of low-buoyancy impact vests, surface vests and buoyancy aids. The designs currently on the market are not aligned to any standard for lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD), and therefore reliability in their performance cannot be guaranteed.

Testing lifejacket buoyancy

At the 2014 Billabong Pro at Teahupoo, Tahiti, organisers provided optional lifejackets to competitors

 erforms reliably and ensures people will return to the surface if P unconscious; but, Doesn’t excessively impede performance of a required task; and, Doesn’t adversely impact physical exertion and introduce secondary risks.

Developing fit-for-purpose low-buoyancy or slimline lifejackets has taken place across the industry over recent years. The specific requirements of wakeboarders, kite-boarders and big-wave surfers have led to the 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 47

the sea-doo spark gear and equipment

The Sea-Doo Spark

Specifications: Spark versus GTI 130


he Sea-Doo Spark is BRP’s latest model in the Australian market. The Spark’s manoeuvrability has been compared to the Yamaha XL700’s, which is seen as one of the best jetskis used by lifeguards for rapid response. With a starting price of $7,800 the Spark definitely fits the budgets of lifeguard services.

Lifejacket policy matches marine regulations


LSA has mandated the compulsory wearing of Australian Standard 4758-certified level 50 lifejackets by all SLS IRB operators in all SLS IRB operations. This decision was made to enhance the safety of lifeguards operating in an IRB. It aligns SLS standard operating procedures to relevant state or territory maritime authority regulations and ensures lifeguards are role modelling safe practice for the general public.

From 1 October 2014, all clubs and services must ensure full compliance with this new regulation. All IRB operators (drivers and crewperson/s) must wear a lifejacket when operating an IRB for front-line lifesaving services and during competition (including all training sessions). For more information please refer to SLSA bulletin 03/13–14.

Stanwell Park Beach in New South Wales has some of the toughest conditions for lifeguard equipment. The 850 m long beach, which is mostly soft and coarse sand, faces the south-east and is exposed to waves averaging 1.6 m. The bar separating the rips is often separated from the beach by a wide, deep trough. This means Stanwell Park often has a sizable shore dump which surges up the steep beach face. The soft sand makes towing heavy craft very difficult.

The spark in stanwell park

Australian Lifeguard Magazine asked experienced Wollongong City Council Senior Lifeguard John Boyle about the Spark in use at Stanwell Park Beach. Here’s what he had to say: Pros

The new Sea-Doo Spark has been at Stanwell Park now for about two months and all staff that have used it agree that it is much easier to launch due to the weight of only 198 kg compared to our old ski of nearly 400 kg and it will also alleviate a lot of manual handling issues. It is far more manoeuvrable and much more responsive in the impact zone and uses almost half the fuel of our previous ski and, personally, I believe it is the best ski I have ever used for a rapid response rescue. It also has two power modes—touring and sports—which come in handy when training new staff. Cons

If I had to find a weakness it would be that it does bounce around a bit on a long trip into a headwind compared to our previous ski, but it is a small inconvenience for all the other advantages. 48 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Engine capacity

Sea-Doo Spark

899 cc four stroke 60/90 kw

Sea-Doo GTI 130

1494 cc four stroke

Seating 2/3 3 Weight (dry)

185 kg/195 kg




2790 mm/3050 mm 3360 mm 1180 mm

1231 mm

Fuel capacity

30 L

60 L

Stainless steel Yes impeller Intelligent brake and Optional reverse system (IBR)

Yes Standard

lightweight watercraft

So, what makes the Spark so light in comparison to other models? Polytec is a recyclable, low-density and high-impact composite material that includes polypropylene and long glass fibre reinforcements. It was designed for hull and deck applications to maintain the structural integrity of the watercraft under stress while providing light yet durable parts to support the construction of the product. The jury is out whether Polytec will withstand harsh Australian beach conditions over the long term. The Spark is a fully sealed unit, with no access under the seat as per other models. This means that if the unit is rolled or swamped, less water gets into the engine bay, which will increase the life of the engine in the long term. The Spark also features BRP’s closed-loop cooling system, which uses coolant to keep the engine running at the ideal temperature, much like a car’s radiator. It also means corrosive saltwater and debris are kept out of the engine system. The lightweight watercraft has sparked the interest of lifeguard services as it looks to be the answer to both WHS and budgetary issues faced by a lot of councils. 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 49

Recognition epic rescue


Yallingup Lifeguards Save Three in 15-ft Surf to Win Rescue of the Month

The Kracka Lifeguard board is a high performance craft weighing between 9 kg – 9.5 kg. Our range of Lifeguard boards have been developed by Kracka over many years of testing and feedback from APOLA to meet today’s requirements of a lighter and faster board necessary for emergency rescue situations.

Ben Sowter receives the award at Parliament House in Canberra.

We have 4 Kracka Lifeguard board models now available: Yallingup Beach on the day of the rescue.

After constantly paddling for around 30 minutes and getting nowhere with the three surfers, they made the decision for one of them to paddle back to shore and call for assistance from Smiths lifeguard jetski.


n 10 January 2014, ALS Yallingup lifeguards Ben Sowter and Janek Ferrandi took on monster storm conditions to rescue three surfers well out of their limits. It won them SLSA’s Rescue of the Month.

Western Australia’s Yallingup Beach is known for its notorious surf conditions, peak season holiday crowds and out-of-town surfers testing themselves in the big waves. On the day of the rescue, conditions were extreme with the inshore/ mid-break waves at a solid 8–10 ft (double overhead), while outer reef waves where the surfers were heading were 10–15 ft (triple overhead). There were strong rip currents across the beach and a strong drift running from south to north. Three surfers paddled out from Yallingup lagoon not realising they were beyond their capability in the large surf. Within two minutes of leaving the beach they were pulled out in a rip current 600–700 m off shore. Janek Ferrandi quickly grabbed the rescue board and started to paddle out to the three lads. Ben Sowter quickly followed as he could see the situation deteriorating rapidly. Once they had reached the three surfers they were 500–600 m off shore in line with the notorious Rabbits surf break, drifting towards Shallows.

Fortunately for the boys a member of the public was liaising with the lifeguards at the time and pulled the flags down and kept the communications going on the phone with Smiths lifeguards as the rescue continued. The swell kept increasing as the guys were out there with 8–10-ft troughs breaking in the channel.

This is the smallest of the Lifeguard boards and very popular with the Lifeguards that want a fast rescue board.


This is the middle sized Lifeguard/Rescue board. The extra width in comparison to the LG1 offers more stability and has been the board of choice for many of our Lifeguards for many years.


This is the largest of our Lifeguard/Rescue boards. This board was developed in consultation with the Lifeguards from Waverley Council's Bondi Beach .The board is much wider than our standard rescue board and was designed to complete mass rescues of more than one person at any time. This board has a user friendly rocker and larger volume for mass rescue situations and offers more stability.


This model was designed specifically for Manly council. This model actually sits in between the LG2 & LG3 in size. It has less thickness in it which makes it easier to ride. It is more stable than the LG2 model. This board is more suited to surfers who don’t have a SLS background and has a lot of bottom curve and is hard to nose dive.

A critical decision

After 45 minutes of paddling constantly, both Ferrandi and Sowter knew they weren’t going to get them back in at the lagoon. They made a quick and drastic decision: they would paddle in through the Shallows break, putting themselves and their casualties at risk by going over the shallow reef.

The swell kept increasing as the guys were out there with 8-10 ft troughs breaking in the channel

Putting the two weakest paddlers on their boards they started to paddle back towards the Yallingup main break looking for an easy access in to the beach as the waves were a solid 10–15 ft.

50 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Ferrandi paddled back to shore while Sowter kept paddling the three boys back towards the main break. After unsuccessfully trying to get hold of the jetski—the Smiths lifeguards were themselves conducting rescues—and with the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter unavailable to assist, Ferrandi paddled back out to assist Ben with the surfers.


At this time the strongest paddler of the surfers managed to catch a wave in between Rabbits and Shallows, washing up over the rocks. A member of the public came to help the man back from the rocks. Ferrandi and Sowter now had to time it perfectly to avoid injury or drowning. After about 10 minutes of waiting for a lull in the waves, they managed to get the two surfers back with only minor injuries to themselves and the casualties. They had ended up 800–900 m from their starting point.

Once everyone was back on the shore and safe the three surfers were extremely thankful. The jetski came over from Smiths shortly after to make sure everything was okay and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, Life Saver 8, also arrived and checked the scene after the rescue.

All of our Lifeguard/Rescue Boards are made of Epoxy Resin Sandwich Foam construction for strength and longevity. Orders can be sent Online via our Website www.krackasurfcraft.com.au For more information please contact the office on 02 49426177

Recognition Celebrating Excellence Tim Wilson­ DHL Lifeguard of the Year

Celebrating Excellence DHL Lifeguard of the Year, Tim Wilson, receives his award.


t the 2014 SLSA Awards of Excellence evening, lifeguards swap their wetsuits for formal suits and the country’s top lifeguard is crowned. This year’s event was held in October at The Westin Sydney, where over a dozen of Surf Life Saving’s highest national awards were handed out for lifesaving, volunteering and sports achievements. Tim Wilson from Queensland’s Australian Lifeguard Service was awarded the DHL Lifeguard of the Year for his commitment and dedication to developing the services on North Stradbroke Island and the Gold Coast, along with his key role in mentoring new lifeguards. On the volunteer side of the evening it was a big night for the Secret Harbour Surf Life Saving Club.

For Tim, the recognition is nice, but it’s the little things in his everyday job he enjoys the most The West Australian club took out three of the major awards on offer, including the prestigious DHL Club of the Year award and DHL Lifesaver of the Year award, which was won by Robert Bates. The judging panel applauded the work and service of Bates, who has been instrumental in the expansion of the club’s patrol services and in delivering public education programs to increase safety. Surf Life Saving Australia President Graham Ford congratulated all award winners and nominees and paid tribute to the thousands across Australia who dedicate their time, effort and expertise to keeping the beaches safe. ‘We are so fortunate as an organisation to be built upon the incredibly selfless work and effort of our employees and volunteers all around the country,’ Mr Ford said. Editor's note: APOLA were unable to be reached to supply their awards of excellence results.

DHL Lifeguard of the Year Runners-up Steve Mills Australian Lifeguard Service, NSW Steve has been a dedicated lifeguard for more than 20 years, and has mentored and supervised many others throughout his career. Steve took part in two successful CPR resuscitations this season and has been involved in many incidents tending to patients who have sustained seizures, major wounds or bone dislocations, as well as undertaking missing children and adult searches. Steve always exhibits a high level of professionalism and knowledge in all aspects of his role.

52 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Trevor Radburn Australian Lifeguard Service, NT Trevor is the State Lifeguard Manager for SLSNT and oversees the Darwin Waterfront Lifeguard Service, where he is responsible for the aquatic safety of the hugely popular 27-ha Darwin Wave and Recreational Lagoons. Trevor facilitates many training sessions and proficiency checks throughout the year to ensure all his staff are fully equipped to perform their roles. Trevor is also a member of the SLSNT Search and Rescue Team.

Shani Copley Australian Lifeguard Service, SA Shani is a Senior Lifeguard for SLSSA, a position to which she was recently promoted in recognition of her dedication and strong work ethic throughout her years with SLS. This season, Shani assisted with the set-up of a new lifeguard trial program service at Henley SLSC. As a Senior Lifeguard, Shani assists with the training and mentoring of many of the new lifeguards.

DHL Lifeguard of the Year Tim Wilson


ueensland’s Tim Wilson personifies the professional lifeguard—he’s dedicated, he’s fit and he really loves his job. A lifeguard for eight years, Tim Wilson is a long-time member of the Broadbeach Surf Life Saving Club on the Gold Coast. He has also spent time working in the United Kingdom for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The judging panel were glowing in their review of Tim’s commitment and dedication to the service. In particular, they were impressed with the way in which he has developed relationships with the community and emergency services on Stradbroke Island. Tim was also singled out for his role in mentoring and acting as a role model to the younger lifeguards, both in his area of active duty and in the establishment of the three new services on the Gold Coast. For Tim, the recognition is nice, but it’s the little things in his everyday job he enjoys the most, being at the beach every day, keeping fit and making other people happy. ‘I’m at the beach every single day. How’s that for a life? When people are having a shower, putting on their slacks and button-up shirt to go to the office for the day, I’m drying my hair after a swim, putting on shorts and a singlet and getting ready for a hard day on the beach.

Top 10

‘My job revolves around fitness. I need to be physically fit and strong to be a capable lifeguard and this has some adverse effects in making me feel amazing! My life on patrol involves me talking to people on their holidays at the beach. Do you know how people feel when they are on holidays? They are happy and they are excited. I get to talk to happy people every day. That makes me feel happy. That makes my day happy. That makes my job happy. Some could say I have the perfect job.’

Mattias Baenziger Australian Lifeguard Service, Vic Mattias is a Senior Lifeguard with the Victorian ALS. He has been exemplary in his service to LSV, and is regarded as a mentor and advisor within the Bellarine region. Mattias demonstrated true professionalism and flexibility while managing a particularly difficult rescue this season where the patient suffered from a personality disorder. Both the patient and carer were returned to shore safe and well. Mattias continues to be an active leader in his club and state.


Daniel Andrew Australian Lifeguard Service, WA A lifeguard for Secret Harbour SLSC, Daniel has established himself as a highly reliable and professional team member. He managed a rescue involving a patient who had suffered a spinal injury. Due to Daniel’s quick and methodical thinking, the person left the beach safely and made a full recovery. This season, Daniel achieved his RWC Award, augmenting his existing qualifications.

• 2014—Timothy Wilson, Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD • 2013—Tim Daymond, Australian Lifeguard Service, NSW • 2012—Daniel Sullivan, Australian Lifeguard Service, VIC • 2011—Scott McCartney, Australian Lifeguard Service, NSW • 2010—Lleam Rees, Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD • 2009—Lachlan HolberyMorgan, Australian Lifeguard Service, VIC • 2008—Mark Young Australian Lifeguard Service, NSW • 2007—Paul Barker, QLD • 2006—Peter Baird, NSW • 2005—Grant Small, North QLD Lifeguards

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 53

international Saving lives around the world

Saving lives around the world international

Saving Lives around the World

Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) SLSA has continued its work with AVID, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), previously funded by AusAID, with volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards in the following countries:

Internationally, Australia has led the way in the world of lifesaving and now more than ever we are sharing our knowledge and skills with countries looking to develop their water safety capacity.

• Fiji, 2013: Kathryn Murray (Mullaloo SLSC, WA), 2013/2014: Andrew Eames (Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC, NSW) and Bronwyn Soko (Vic and Fiji) • Indonesia, 2013: Emma Larssen (Cronulla SLSC, NSW) • Kenya, 2014: Lachlan Butcher (Cronulla SLSC, NSW) • Philippines 2014: Jess Murnane (Apollo Bay SLSC, Vic) • Samoa, 2013: David Guest (Ulverstone SLSC, Tas), 2014: Mattias Baenziger (Brighton LSC and Point Lonsdale SLSC, Vic) • Vanuatu, 2013: Martin Wilke (Mullaloo SLSC, WA) • Vietnam, 2013: Stephanie McGuiness (Helensburgh Stanwell Park SLSC, NSW), 2014: David Field (Cudgen Headland SLSC, NSW)

16 1



These volunteers work with local in-country partners to develop capacity and capability in education and training, lifeguard operating procedures and risk management, and also organisational development to suit the specific country’s needs.

2 6



10 7

15 14




4 13 20 17 19


1 Malta SLSA provided a range of surf lifesaving resources to the Australian High Commission to promote Australia and also foster beach safety to schools in Malta.

2 Middle East SLSA CPR, First Aid and Bronze Medallion training has continued to be delivered in Dubai through an SLSA licensed provider, Australia International Sports Services (AISS).

6 India SLSA continued to assist the Rashtriya Life Saving Society India (RLSS) through the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP India), which in 2014 included the Multi Sport Beach Festival in Kerala assisted by Don Marsh (Tas) and Stephanie McGuinness (NSW), as well as the Swim N Survive project, which has led to a Nipper program.

Ongoing support to the Phuket Lifeguard Club and the Safer Phuket group from SLSA has enabled beach safety in Phuket to be continually improved. It was aided in late 2013 through a visit by NSW lifeguard and surf lifesaver Tom Allen, who provided a training refresher to lifeguards on five beaches.

SLSA has been assisting a group of Australians and the fledgling Surf Life Saving Israel to develop plans to introduce volunteer surf lifesaving into Israel. Early plans have been prepared to start a junior lifesaving (Israel Nippers) program from early 2015. To further assist the development of surf lifesaving in Kenya, SLSA AVID volunteer Lachlan Butcher (NSW) commenced a 12-month assignment in Nairobi and Mombasa in mid-2014.

5 Mauritius Ongoing support and advice has been provided to the Surf Life Saving Association of Mauritius and its energetic President, Mr Viraj Ramharai.

8 China Development work with the Shenzhen Surfing Association saw the introduction of surf safety and lifesaving into Shenzhen. It was provided through the production of surf safety vignettes by Anthony Bradstreet (SLSA) and the training of 34 lifeguards by David Guest (Tas). The program was made possible through the Australia–China Council.

9 Thailand

3 Israel

4 Kenya


10 Cambodia 7 Sri Lanka SLSA has continued to assist the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka (LSASL) improve its lifesaving training and organisational development. In late 2013, SLS volunteer Michael Kenny (Cudgen Headland SLSC) spent six weeks with the Sri Lankan Coast Guard. Life Saving Victoria has also continued its support to LSASL through the annual Building Future Leaders program and training visit.

54 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

SLSA, in 2013, assisted two Australian and South African expats form the Sihanoukville Surf Life Saving Club, in particular as a junior lifesaving club.

11 Vietnam SLSA has continued to support the development of surf lifesaving in Vietnam with training in Da Nang, Nha Trang and Ho Tram. In late November 2013, SLSA was registered as an International

16 Japan

coaching and consolidation of the Balawista Nippers on a number of beaches of Bali.

Via the Australia Japan Exchange program, the Japan Lifesaving Association (JLA) invited three Australian lifesavers to travel to Japan

14 Brunei

non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Vietnam (PACCOM Registered No. 267). Negotiations are continuing with the City of Da Nang for the construction of a training centre and surf club on beachfront land in Da Nang. Training leadership has been possible through SLSA AVID volunteers Stephanie McGuiness (NSW) and David Field (NSW).

12 Malaysia SLSA has continued to support the Life Saving Society of Malaysia following the completion in late 2013 of Surf Sports coaching and officials training by SLSA trainer Jeff Mowbray.

13 Indonesia In late 2013, AVID volunteer Emma Larssen (NSW) completed her second assignment in Bali with outcomes including lifesaving sport

In December 2013, SLSA volunteer Chris Jacobson (Tas) presented on surf safety at a conference organised by Brunei’s Beach Bunch. As a follow-up, in mid-2014 Stuart Massey (NSW) conducted a detailed risk assessment on Brunei’s 15 beaches. The outcome is likely to see Brunei’s first lifeguards within 12 months.

15 Philippines SLSA continues to assist the development of surf lifesaving with the Philippine Lifesaving Society. In 2014, AVID volunteer Jess Murnane (Vic) worked in the Philippines to further develop surf safety practices.

lifesaving into Nauru. Until late February the partnership saw the delivery of a high-quality lifeguard service in Nauru for the local residents and in particular the asylum seekers on Nauru. Unfortunately, this service has ceased for a variety of reasons. SLSA and SLSNSW trainer Steve Allan was invaluable in providing training and support to the Nauru Surf Club.

Daw (SA) and administration by AVID volunteer Bronwyn Soko (Vic and Fiji).

20 Samoa SLS Tasmania has continued to provide surf lifesaving training assistance through AVID volunteers.

19 Fiji

to enhance water safety awareness and expand lifesaving activity in Japan. Michael Kenny, Steve Corney and Ash Presser travelled to Japan in July 2014 and delivered sessions focused on surf sports, rescues and water safety, and coaching skills.

17 Vanuatu SLSA AVID volunteer Martin Wilke (WA) completed his assignment in Vanuatu in early 2014 after guiding the creation of the Vanuatu Surf Life Saving Association.

18 Nauru SLSA and its partner the Nauru Surf Club introduced surf safety and

Collaboration with the Fiji Surfing Association continued in an effort to establish a sustainable surf lifesaving education and training presence in Fiji. The work of AVID volunteer Andy Eames (NSW) has been invaluable. Furthermore, SLSA continued to support the new Water Safety Council of Fiji with a visit from Shane

21 Cook Islands SLSA provided support to Harvie Allison (Qld) and the new Cook Islands Water Safety and Surf Lifesaving Inc. by donating vital lifesaving equipment.

22 Colombia Following a request from the Embassy of Colombia in Australia, SLSA (with the support of SLSNSW, SLS Central Coast and the Toowoon Bay SLSC) provided an opportunity to a youth group from Colombia to experience surf lifesaving for a day.

10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 55

Lifeguard Exchange international

Lifeguard Exchange

David Field starts the beach run event.

The lifeguard lookout at Ballito

KwaDukuza, South Africa


anny Smyth from the Western Australian ALS travelled to South Africa on a lifeguarding exchange with the KwaDukuza Lifeguard Service at Ballito. This is his story.

Lifeguarding Ballito was an incredible experience to say the least. The exchange has given me the opportunity to view a foreign lifeguard service and compare it with the Australian standard. I really enjoyed the vibe and friendly, easy-going lifestyle Ballito has to offer. The beaches are clean, and the community and people are friendly.

Vietnam’s First Surf LifeSaving Carnival


ifesaving competitions are incredibly useful in highlighting and communicating surf safety messages and promoting the lifesaving movement. No more so than in countries where lifesaving is just getting off the ground. This is the story of the Festival of the Sea, Vietnam’s first surf lifesaving carnival, held at Da Nang on Sunday, 7 September 2014. Each five-person team had to have at least one female member. Some of the female AVID volunteers joined the male-only teams, while others competed together as a team—Aussie Girls. The Vietnam Swans, an AFL team based in Ho Chi Minh City, were also there.

SLSA has supported three volunteers in Da Nang since 2011 through DFAT’s (previously AusAID) Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program. As one of the volunteers, I approached the Da Nang People’s Committee Sea Board to sell the idea of a lifeguard teams competition to highlight lifesaving.

The Da Nang Beach Furama Nippers demonstrated their skills in a board relay and 1-km run. Other key events were the tung race and the tung rescue race using the traditional basket boats from central Vietnam. These races, which acknowledge the indigenous craft used by fishermen and lifeguards, were a great spectacle. The beach flags races were also very popular with the crowd.

The Vietnamese were enthusiastic, and the target of 12 teams competing was reached and then passed. On the festival day, 17 teams were on the line.

The Philippine Red Cross Boracay lifeguard team won the day. The local Eco Tourism and Sea Board is now planning to host a larger event on the Reunification Day holiday, 30 April 2015.

Teams came from Thailand and the Philippines, as well as the Vietnamese provinces of Nha Trang and Hue and Quang Nam. Australians were out in force, thanks to the support of 30 AVID volunteers from all over Vietnam and Australia who travelled to Da Nang privately to assist.

Thanks are due to the New South Wales far north coast surf clubs that donated boards for use in the event, Cronulla SLSC and Ballina SLSC who sponsored events, as well as the people who came forward to sponsor travel for the Thailand and Philippine competitors. And of course SLSA, which contributed freight costs and provides ongoing support for Surf Life Saving Vietnam’s Life Saving Development project.

This was not a surf lifesaving event drawn from the pages of the competition manual. 56 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

My busiest week was during the Mr Price Pro surf contest that saw more than 1,000 people on the beach checking out the action. That week showed the real dynamics of lifeguarding in South Africa. A noticeable difference when comparing the KwaDukuza Lifeguard Service and ALS is the red and yellow flag policy. Willard’s always enforced the flags and used constant reinforcement through whistling and water action. Western Australia has the red and yellow flags too, but people can choose to swim between them or not. Not everyone wants to swim in a crowded area when they come on holiday to relax and swim peacefully. However, we are slowly making swimming between the flags almost compulsory as it’s such an effective way to prevent drownings.

local knowledge

I was fortunate enough to know Janek Ferrandi, one of the local lifeguards, from my lifeguarding in Australia. Knowing Janek made experiencing South Africa in general that much simpler, and also made life easier setting up for my work in Ballito. Accommodation and banking are the biggest issues for someone willing to do the exchange in Ballito. Accommodation is available in the area, but living with someone who is also working on the beaches makes the experience that much better. Overall, it was an amazing experience that I’ll always remember. I feel I have broadened my lifeguarding skills and my ability to work with different team members in a very multicultural environment. The exchange would be of great benefit to the KwaDukuza council and Australian lifeguards. I hope to return next winter season.

supportive team

By David Field

Six months before, the idea was hatched to stage a lifesaving event in Da Nang to provide a focus for the lifesaving development activities taking place there and in Nha Trang as part of an Australian International Development project. The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships (the ‘Aussies’) would provide the model.

I spent most of my time at Willard’s Beach, which is beautiful and produces consistent surf. But it can be a tricky beach at times. It has a very large area to scan, with rushing tides and powerful rips draining on the left and right sides of the bays.

There were four or five lifeguard supervisors who were managing the day. The lifeguards all had to wait around as everyone completed the fitness tests. I noticed that a lot of the selection criteria came down to the fastest times for each fitness leg. I certainly agree with this to a certain degree, but I think there needs to be a larger focus on lifeguarding experience as well. You can have the fittest lifeguard who has only done one season as opposed to a lifeguard who passes the tests with slower times but with five or six seasons’ experience. However, lifeguarding comes down to survival of the fittest and those fitness tryouts were a way of viewing each lifeguard’s individual performance.

I was very impressed by the supportive attitude of the other South African lifeguards. They were very patient when giving me instructions and always smiling. I did a rescue at the area called ‘north bog’ that allowed me to see them in action. I rescued a bodyboarder, and within one minute of being in the water I had back-up from other lifeguards. It is very reassuring to see lifeguards support their crew when putting themselves into tricky situations. Another insight into how they do things came during the preseason lifeguard fitness tests for employment, which are tough. More than 40 lifeguards tried out for seasonal spots to work in Ballito. It was a long day—starting at 7am and finishing around 3pm—a lot longer than it needed to be, in my opinion. Having said that, I realise that this needs to be done to organise work.

Ballito Beach 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 57

revisiting stories from the past lifesaving

Case Study

Revisiting Stories from the Past


2004–14: Percentage of Rip-current-related Incidents The average number of coastal drowning deaths from 2004 to 2014 is 93 per year. The percentage of rip-current-related incidents has decreased from 34% to less than 16% over this 10-year period.

Following three years of field research, surveys and interviews, as well as collaboration and consultation with scientists and water safety colleagues internationally, the RIPSAFE project has delivered valuable insights and evidence to support our drowning prevention efforts.





30 25 20 60







0 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14

Number of Coastal Drowning Deaths Percentage of Rip-current-related Incidents

Percentage (%)

Number (n)

100 80

Since 2011, SLSA has been conducting a collaborative research project with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to investigate the rip current hazard and inform the development of evidenced-based drowning prevention interventions. A multi-disciplinary team was established to investigate the physical and social sciences associated with rip currents.


any stories in the last nine issues showcased the amazing achievements of the industry and the dedicated people behind who make it up—we’ve updated a few of them here. Issue 1 ‘Surf Emergency Response Times Slashed by 13SURF’

Then: The 13SURF hotline had been in operation for one year in New South Wales and was touted as a great example of how the volunteer and professional services could work together for a more coordinated approach to patrolling the coastline.

The research has revealed that rip currents are far more dynamic and variable than previously understood in the scientific literature. Their flow behaviour can either be offshore, directed or circulating, and vary from time to time, place to place, or in some cases minute to minute. This unpredictability has significant implications for key messages in education.

Now: Since its inception, the Surf Emergency Response system has expanded nationally with all states using or working towards a single point of contact for coastal and surf incidents.

To support the development of evidence-based drowning prevention strategies, the project has delivered a suite of Rip Current Survival Principles. These principles are set into two categories: avoidance and survival. They emphasise that avoidance of the hazard is paramount, but also describe the options available to people if they are caught in a rip current.

‘Working Together Attitude: Sutherland Shire Lifesaving Partnership’

The responses of floating, swimming parallel and seeking help are all presented as survival options, noting that the person should regularly reassess the situation and adopt an alternative response if necessary. This reflects the latest evidence including the complex nature of rip currents as well as the reported experiences of people who have been caught in them.

Then: Bondi Rescue

Issue 2 Then: We took a look at the special relationship between the lifesavers and the lifeguards of the Shire. Brad Whittaker, Manager Beach Operations, said, ‘It doesn’t matter to the public who is providing the service, they just want someone to be providing it’. Now: In Issue 5 (2011) we featured another Shire initiative, the ‘Working Together Development Program’, a joint venture between Surf Life Saving Sydney and Sutherland Shire Council which sees young lifesavers gaining more experience with lifeguards in a structured holiday program. This program continues today. Then: Fiona Borg

Now: Fiona is still a very popular lifeguard with Randwick City Council. Nicola Atherton is employed in a full-time capacity at Waverley Council. Nicola has plenty of experience in the water, she was a professional surfer for 10 years, winning the World Junior Surfing Championship at the age of 20 in 2007.

Issue 5 ‘Sunlight, Camera, Action—It’s Bondi to the Rescue’

Then: In 2011 Bondi Rescue was in its sixth season and Dean Gladstone gave us an insight into how the show had changed lifeguarding down on Australia’s most famous beach. ‘It’s turned into more of a career, as opposed to a summer job for beach bums,’ quipped Gladstone. We also interviewed a keen kiwi in Harrison Reid who had come over from NZ to participate in the Bondi Lifeguard Academy that season. Now: Bondi Rescue has signed on for its 10th season, the boys are narrating the show themselves, Bruce Hopkins has opened a themed cafe, there’s a range of Bondi Rescue merchandise and Harrison Reid is now a full-time lifeguard and one of the most popular stars of the show.

Issue 7 ‘Inspirational Story: Zane Ludlow’

Then: We spoke to Manly Council lifeguard Zane Ludlow about his life-changing gastric band surgery that helped him lose 76 kg over a period of 12 months. ‘My lifestyle has changed dramatically—I’m doing a job that I’ve always wanted to do,’ Zane said. ‘Next up for me is to get some major plastic surgery … once that’s sorted I’ll be as good as gold.’ Now: Zane has continued to keep the weight off, he’s still loving his dream job on the beach and he’s started up his own jetski water safety business, ‘Zane’s Water Safety Services’, providing services to ocean swims, surf comps and film shoots. Oh, and his beloved Rabbitohs won the grand final! Now: Zane Ludlow

Issue 4 ‘Females In Lifeguarding’

Then: We talked to Randwick lifeguard Fiona Borg about why we don’t see more females as lifeguards and the challenges women faced in a male-dominated industry. In a competitive industry ‘it’s a little harder [to become a lifeguard as a female], you need to be equal if not better than the guys in the ocean to make it’, said Borg. 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 59

industry lifeguard Snippets

lifeguard snippets industry

lifeguard Snippets Bondi Lifeguards Turning the Cameras Around to Save Lives Impact Four cameras based at Sydney’s Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches have been installed with the capability of zooming in for 3 km. The cameras are controlled from the Bondi lifeguard tower, allowing the lifeguards to monitor the non-patrolled beaches’ water year-round during Bondi Beach patrol hours. Lifeguard Supervisor Bruce Hopkins said the cameras were partly inspired by the Bondi Rescue TV series. ‘We thought if they can record everything we do, why can’t we?’ In July 2014, a surfer and father of two drowned after he was swept onto the rocks at Tamarama in Sydney. The new technology will allow lifeguards to react more quickly to life-threatening situations.

Wyong Council Considers Lifeguard Patrols for Remote Birdie Beach at Lake Munmorah Lifeguard services could eventually be introduced at Birdie Beach on the northern outskirts of Wyong Shire in New South Wales. Wyong Mayor Doug Eaton says the matter of introducing surf patrols at Birdie Beach came out of the Future Growth discussion paper, which forecasts huge population growth in that part of the shire. ‘This growth won’t happen overnight, but we need to get the ball rolling and make sure we have the right services and systems in place to meet the needs of our growing community,’ Cr Eaton says.

‘Guardian Drone’ Being Researched by Uni Students Two PhD students from the University of Wollongong have invented a drone that has the ability to save lives. Leo Stevens and Nicholas Roach designed the ‘Guardian Drone’ to carry and drop a flotation device to swimmers in distress at sea. ‘We custom built a housing which allowed the rescue tube to be fixed to the bottom of the drone and released on command using a radio signal,’ explains Stevens. He says he came up with the idea after working as a lifeguard for several years. ‘My work as a lifeguard put me into situations where I saw a need for some way to deliver a tube to a swimmer in trouble, preferably without putting a lifeguard in danger...’ The invention won an award in the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Works! competition.

The Wave Brings You into the World of Big Wave Surfers Susan Casey’s book The Wave captures colossal, ship-swallowing waves, and the surfers and scientists who seek them out. For legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, 100-ft waves represent the ultimate challenge. As Casey travels the globe, hunting these monsters of the ocean with Hamilton’s crew, she witnesses first-hand the life-or-death stakes, the glory, and the mystery of impossibly mammoth waves. Yet for the scientists who study them, these waves represent something truly scary brewing in the planet’s waters. With inexorable verve, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious. Buy it and read it in your lunch break—it’s easy to read and provides an awesome insight from pro surfer and scientist perspectives (I had to share it, Ed.).

60 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition

Evaluation of Swim N Survive, India A grant from the Australian Sports Commission has been received to evaluate the primary causes for drowning among at-risk communities in Kerala, India, and the current impact of the Swim N Survive program. The research is being conducted by Rashtriya Life Saving Society India and SLSA. Results from 300 questionnaires are now being evaluated in India and the data will be analysed by SLSA. The experience from this evaluation can benefit other locations with similar levels of development and similar burdens of child drowning.

Summer’s Next Big Wave Comes to Fox Sports In what is the biggest television deal in the history of surf life saving, FOX SPORTS launched a new, weekly series titled Summer of Surf on Saturday, 29 November. Showcasing Australia’s largest surf sport events, the series began with the iconic 2014 Coolangatta Gold and will culminate in late April with the 2015 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. Summer of Surf will be broadcast over 23 weeks, in a landmark agreement that will reinvigorate the sport.

Byron Bay to Get Lifeguards Year-round as Shark Attack Fear Takes Hold In northern New South Wales, Byron Bay visitors are deserting the beach and some locals remain ‘jittery’ following a number of recent shark-related incidents. Since a fatal shark attack on 9 September, the Byron Shire Council has agreed to fund lifeguards on patrol year-round and expand flagged areas in the region. ‘This was a very rare tragedy in the ocean,’ says the Northern Region Lifeguard Coordinator Scott McCartney. ‘We have had some public sightings of sharks and we investigated. Some people are still a bit jittery. We do have a lot of dolphins and marine life off Byron Bay but it is better to be safe than sorry.’ McCartney says extra patrols would be rolled out over the summer holidays.

SLSA’s Tsunami Project Receives National Award

Manly Nippers Test Wristbands for Emergency Information In Sydney, the Manly Life Saving Club is trialling wristbands for nippers, swimmers and surfers that quickly provide critical information in the case of an emergency. The club is conducting a pilot of Safe Mate, a waterproof silicone wristband that contains a near-field communications (NFC) chip that does not require charging. Wristband wearers upload their emergency contact and medical information to the Safe Mate website. In an emergency, first responders can access the information by scanning the user’s wristband with an NFC-compatible Android smartphone running the Safe Mate Professional app. Safe Mate founder Ewan Le Bourhis says he hopes to bring the wristband to every beach in New South Wales in 2015.

Surf Life Saving Australia has been recognised nationally at the 2014 Resilient Australia Awards in Canberra. The online resource Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide, which was produced in collaboration with the Australian Tsunami Advisory Group, was Highly Commended in the Projects of National Significance category. It was one of 23 projects chosen from 160 entries received across Australia.

Is this Purple Jellyfish a New Species?

Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide is a comprehensive, interactive resource produced by the experts in tsunami in Australia. It presents authoritative and engaging information in a highly visual manner. www.emknowledge.gov.au/connect/tsunami-the-ultimate-guide/#/

Newcastle Lifeguard Warren Smith Retires After 40 Years After almost 40 years on the city’s beaches, or 71,136 hours on official duty, Warren ‘Smithy’ Smith packed up the flags for the last time in September. ‘I feel very grateful for being able to meet so many beautiful people,’ Smith says. Smith was a volunteer on Newcastle Beach before the council decided to start paying him a casual wage in 1975. He’s been permanently stationed at Nobbys for the past 38 years. He saw the Sygna run aground at Stockton in 1974, and then the Pasha Bulker in 2007, and has been involved in countless surf rescues. Now 61, Smithy was a founding member of Surfest, a local surfing festival, and is credited with bringing the city’s surfing fraternity together with lifesavers, who became known as lifeguards from the late 1990s.

A bright purple, alien-like jellyfish washed up on Coolum Beach over winter and an expert says it may be a new species. Sunshine Coast lifeguard Jamie Smith says a local fisherman alerted him and his partner to the discovery after pulling the sea creature up on to the beach to avoid getting stung. ‘The thing that struck me was how long the tentacles are and the colour,’ Smith says. ‘It was so vibrant and pure.’ Jellyfish expert Lisa Gershwin says it is probably a new species. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ she says. ‘And honestly, being purple it alerts me to the fact that it might be a new species. I think it’s a better than even chance that it’s new to science.’ 10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 61

industry lifeguard Snippets

story name lifesaving

National Coastal Safety National Drowning Snapshot Report Drowning Snapshot

The Rock to Star in Baywatch the Movie Mining Giant Pays for WA's Digital Radio

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is in talks to star in yet another movie. This wrestler-turned-actor might soon turn Baywatch lifeguard in the upcoming movie about LA lifeguards. Talks of adapting the TV show as a movie have been floating around for a while, but now fans of both The Rock and Baywatch may finally see the idea come to fruition.

Surf Life Saving WA is entering the digital age with a new $1.35 million radio system paid for by mining company BHP Billiton. The state-of-the-art digital radio and data management system will replace the old analogue radio system. The communications hub will be able to track lifesavers, helicopters, jetskis and patrol vehicles in real time. SLSWA CEO, Paul Andrew, says the partnership is one of the most significant in the organisation’s history, calling the project a game changer for coastal safety.

Surf Hazard Rating Framework Surf Life Saving Australia is currently collaborating with Bond University to develop a Surfboat Hazard Rating that indexes the hazards faced by surf boat activities in the surf zone. The prime objectives are to differentiate real and perceived risk and to be able to apply this quantitative hazardrisk model to practical situations in order to reduce associated risks. A broader Surf Hazard Rating Framework project is underway to deliver a more generalised rating system for the public. This project involves the Bureau of Meteorology, CoastalCOMS and Griffith University.



LSA has co-authored eight peer-reviewed journal articles in 2013–14 and submitted two additional ones for publication, as listed below. The publications are in partnership with our academic colleagues at the University of New South Wales (1), University of Wollongong (2), University of Technology Sydney (3), SLSA (4), Monash University (5), University of Melbourne (6), Life Saving Victoria (7), James Cook University (8), Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey California (9), University of Miami (10), University of Sydney (11) and Griffith University (12). Copies of papers are available on request to Barbara Brighton BBrighton@slsa.asn.au.

62 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 10 th edition


Hoppo Launches Juice Bar Franchise Waverley Council Lifeguard Supervisor Bruce Hopkins is expanding the Bondi Rescue brand by opening a new smoothie and juice bar called Bondi Rescue HQ. The first of the nutritionist-driven cafes is located in North Bondi’s cafe strip but Hoppo is looking to expand the franchise into other beach-side locations.

Lifeguards To Paddle 130 km For Charity

M. Edwards3, Onyx J.3, H. Maxwell3, P. Bullen3, S. Sherker4. A conceptual model of social impact as active citizenship. Voluntas [accepted July 2014] Drozdzewski D.1, A. Roberts1, D. DomineyHowes11 and R. Brander, R.1 The experiences of weak and non-swimmers caught in rip currents at Australian beaches. Australian Geographer [in press June 2014]

Darcy S. , J. Onyx3, M. Edwards , H. Maxwell , S. Sherker4. More than a sport and volunteer organisation: Investigating social capital in an Australian sporting organisation. Sport Management Review [in press March 2014] 3



McCarroll R. J. , R. Brander , J. MacMahan I. Turner11, A. Reniers10, J. Brown9, A. Bradstreet4, S. Sherker4. Evaluation of swimmer-based rip current escape strategies. Natural Hazards 71:1821–1846, 2014 1


Brighton, B.4, S. Sherker4, R. Brander1, M. Thompson4, A. Bradstreet4. Rip current related drowning deaths and rescues in Australia 2004–2011. Natural Hazards and Earth System Science 13:1–7, 2013 Kennedy, D.6, S. Sherker4, C.D. Woodroffe2, A. Weir4, B. Brighton4. Rocky coast hazards and public safety: moving beyond the beach in coastal risk management. Ocean and Coastal Management 82:85–94, 2013

Sanò, M.12, R. Richards12, O. Sahin12, S. Sherker4, D. Ware12, R. Tomlinson12. Adapt between the flags: Enhancing the capacity of Surf Life Saving Australia to cope with climate change and to leverage adaptation within coastal communities, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 146 pp., 2013 

89 % MALE





Contributory Factors












Matthews, B.7, R. Andronaco7, A. Adams8. Warning signs at beaches: Do they work? Safety Science 62:312–318, 2014

Brander, R.1, D.Dominey-Howes11, C. Champion1, O. Vecchio1, B. Brighton4. A new perspective on the Australian rip current hazard. Natural Hazards and Earth System Science 13:1687–1690, 2013



In January 2015, eight of Lake Macquarie’s lifeguards are setting out to challenge themselves on a 130-km board paddle from their own Blacksmiths Beach to Sydney’s Bondi Beach. They’re paddling to raise money and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease and 100 per cent of the money they raise will be going to the MND charity. The lifeguards set to take part are Lucas Samways, Danny Napper, Rory Chapman, Lucas Chapman, Rory Tanner, Sam Earp, Jake Ingle and Troy Ham. To show your support and donate visit:  https://give.everydayhero.com/au/paddle4mnd

Shaw WS.1, J. Goff1, R. Brander1, T. Walton1, A. Roberts1, S. Sherker4. Surviving the Surf Zone: Towards an integrative approach to rip current safety. Annals Of The Association Of American Geographers [submitted April 2014]



4 9





Rock Fishing





15 4



10 th edition Australian Lifeguard Magazine 63


For BRP, our SLS partnership extends beyond our endorsed supplier status.


Official Powercraft Sponsor of SLS

In 2009, the BRP & SLS partnership was born & ever since we have been providing significant financial & product contributions. In addition, our Club Support Program assists all SLS clubs in upgrading their personal watercraft, side-by-side vehicles & outboards. Products are specifically factory configured to meet the unique rescue requirements of SLS. BRP is committed to the ‘Surf Life Saving’ movement. This commitment extends a whole lot further than our title as the official powercraft partner at the top of the endorsed supplier list.

BRP supply Sea-Doo watercraft and Can-Am Commanders as a turnkey solution to SLS.

(Approved by SLS)

(Approved by SLS)

Sea-Doo GTX 155 & GTI130 / 155SE

Can-Am Commander 800 DPS

• Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR) - The world's only

• Powerful ROTAX engine & auto-locking 4x4

• Industry exclusive Closed Loop Cooling System (CLCS) -

• Impressive 680kg towing capacity for heavy loads

on-water braking system for enhanced rescue safety.

system for optimal soft sand performance

the only PWC that uses coolant as opposed to corrosive saltwater to cool engine for greater reliability.

such as surf-boats & PWCs

• Learning Key - limits speed for beginners, allowing

• LFI Hull for greater stability and control in challenging

surf clubs to safely train the next generation of lifesavers.

surf conditions.

To learn more call us today, we have staff dedicated to supporting the BRP / SLS partnership: Jayson Ginn (02) 9355-2710

BRP is also the manufacturer of: SKI-DOO EVINRUDE ROTAX ®

© 2014 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). ®, ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates.




Profile for SLSA

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 2015  

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 2015