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Publisher Surf Life Saving Australia | PO Box 7773, Bondi Beach NSW 2026 | (02) 9215 8000 Project Managers Murray Copas, April Ryan Designer Kylie Mulquin Proofreader Helen Bateman Contributors John Gannon, Roberto Mascarenhas, Neal Moodie, Lisa Sainsbury, Lucie Blom, Murray Copas, Dr Sarah Boulter NCCARF, Autism Spectrum Australia, Shayne Enright (Honolulu Ocean Safety), Paul Hellier, Eveline Rijksen, Briana Newson, April Ryan, Keiran Stone, SLSA, Kate Theodore-Gallagher, Dr Dave Anning, Australian Coastal Society, SLS TAS, SLS NSW, SLS QLD, SLS NT, Life Saving Victoria, SLS SA, SLS WA Image Credits Roberto Mascarenhas, Bureau of Meteorology, SLS NSW, Marian Sampson-News Of The Bay, Port Stephens Examiner, Paul Hellier, Leanne St George, SLSA, Autism Spectrum Australia, Commonwealth of Australia and Australian Climate Commission, Shutterstock, Jianca Lazarus, Shane Daw Our best endeavours have been made to credit the owners of the photos Cover Photo Roberto Mascarenhas

ISSUE 13 4 Five minutes with…John Gannon 5 ‘Flags Up’ for the Bureau Of Meteorology’s Heatwave Service

6 A Tale of Two Towers 8 CoastAdapt 10 It’s a Game of Drones 1 1 Lifeguards Take New Technology to the Sky

12 Building Inclusive Beaches 14 New Warning Service for Hazardous Surf

1 6 Spotlight on Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Service, Honolulu

2 0 22

What’s Next? Paul Hellier DHL Lifeguard of the Year

24 Rescue Recognition 2 6 Bystander Rescues 28 Five minutes with…Briana Newson 2 9 National Coastal Safety Report 2017 32 Japan-Australia Lifesaver Exchange Program

34 ‘A Race Like No Other’ 38 Flood Rescue 3 9 Foundation Training and John Gannon

42 44 45 46

POSTURE STRONG with John Shark Mitigations No Eels (Yet) Australian Coastal Society

Five minutes with…



e asked the Randwick Lifeguard, surfer and fitness trainer a few questions about his career and lifestyle. Check out the feature on pages 41-43 for John’s Foundation Training tips. Where do you call home? Maroubra Beach, Sydney Have you always lived in Maroubra? Sure have, my father owned the butcher shop at North Maroubra where we lived upstairs as kids. How did you first get involved in surf life saving?

What is your favourite lifeguarding story? Working on Bondi Beach on a busy summer’s day I spotted a man in distress, jumped on my board and headed out for a rescue. When I got the patient back on shore a large crowd gathered, and it turned out to be a famous rapper, Xzibit, who later got in contact and invited me and friends along to his concert. How do you prepare for a day on patrol? Being a casual, you don’t get much notice so its grab your work bag, a bottle of water to stay hydrated and straight into it. However, I practise 10 to 20 minutes of Foundation Training daily, which helps the old body stay aligned and injury free.

I started at South Maroubra Nippers at a young age and then moved on to compete for Maroubra SLSC in iron man events. How long have you been lifeguarding? On and off for 20 years. I started with Waverley Council Lifeguards at Bronte, Bondi and Tamarama. Then the last two seasons I have been with Randwick Council at Maroubra, Coogee and Clovelly. Did lifeguarding help influence your career/interest in health and fitness? It definitely helped with the transition into the health and fitness industry. Does lifeguarding complement your lifestyle? It’s a massive part of my lifestyle and I enjoy the teamwork it involves. Are there any other sports that you enjoy? Surfing, Jujitsu and watching the Bunnies win. 4 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

John and family




hen the temperature rises, many Australians flock to the beach as they attempt to beat the heat. This can lead to busier beaches and greater demands on lifeguards, first aid and other services. Heatwaves can pose significant health and safety risks for beachgoers and the impacts are commonly underestimated. Heat-related illnesses include dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and worsening of existing medical conditions. The Bureau of Meteorology has begun its annual Heatwave Service to show when and where heatwaves are developing. The service uses a heatwave intensity index that assesses the build-up of heat over a period of time, taking into account the long-term climate of a location as well as temperatures leading up to a heatwave event. This forecast provides a more advanced indicator than the traditional minimum and maximum temperatures alone, as it anticipates the impacts and locations of heat stress.

These forecasts can help you prepare and adapt your behaviour so you can cope more easily while on patrol. An impending heatwave may also trigger preparations for contingency arrangements. People who exercise outdoors are particularly at risk; it’s important to monitor the safety of competitors, officials and volunteers at surf carnivals and championships. The Bureau’s Heatwave Service is available from November until the end of March or later if further heatwaves are expected. Visit: www.bom.gov.au/australia/heatwave Three-day Heatwave Forecast for Saturday, Sunday and Monday starting Saturday 13/02/2016 Heatwave Severity

The Bureau’s Heatwave Forecast maps (right) show locations where heatwave conditions are expected to occur in the coming week, and whether the level of intensity is low, severe or extreme.

Extreme Heatwave Severe Heatwave Low-intensity Heatwave No Heatwave DATA SOURCE Australian Bureau of Meteorology


#dontrisktherip FACT: Two out of three people who think they can identify a rip current, can’t. Swim between the red and yellow flags. Visit beachsafe.org.au or download the app to find out what you don’t know about rips.




he Port Stephens Lifeguards charged with keeping the public safe at One Mile Beach are able to do so in state-of- the-art facilities that have recently opened.

And the lifeguards themselves couldn’t be happier about it. Boasting a first aid room, storage facilities and an elevated shark observation tower, this revamped piece of infrastructure will become an important addition to the local landscape, allowing lifeguards to do their job to the best of their ability. This facility is now built at the south end of the beach and owned by Port Stephens Council. The development, which had a price tag of $840,000, was funded largely by a Crown Reserve Trust grant. Lifeguards were intimately involved with the design process during the consultation phase thanks to the foresight of council. As a result the building will meet the needs of the 21st century dynamic environment in which they operate. ALS Port Stephens Supervisor Phil Rock said the new building has been well received by lifeguards and the community. “This building is a great place to work and has everything we need to help us perform our jobs with the extra space being very much appreciated. Port Stephens Council deserves a big congratulations for their enthusiasm and desire to get this project complete, and for giving the local community the facilities they deserve. “We’re all very much looking forward to getting out there on patrol this season,” he said.

One Mile Beach patrol tower

“This revamped piece of infrastructure will become an important addition to the local landscape, allowing lifeguards to do their job to the best of their ability.”

Photo by Marian Sampson courtesy of News Of The Bay 6 Australian Lifeguard Magazine


The Shellharbour tower has 180 degree views of the beach

Council invested in a portable tower that would accommodate the lifeguards during construction and then will be used on one of the more remote patrols for many years to come. The market for prefabricated towers in Australia is limited, and after further research, the lifeguard service and fabrication workshop collaborated to build a specialised and tailored portable lifeguard tower. This journey began with engaging lifeguards and key stakeholders in council to ensure essential requirements would be met. Key to the requirements was housing two lifeguards (Shellharbour Council’s minimum patrol size) to give shelter when the weather is at its worst. Furthermore, it would provide: ●● ●●

Shellharbour City Council Lifeguards Matt Blackshaw and Peter Richards at Warilla Beach in the new tower



ny lifeguard service has the constant challenge of providing the highest quality of supervision to the public, and there is a need to protect lifeguards from the elements. Over the years Shellharbour City Council has tried many options, from re-fitted caravans, modified containers and hired site sheds. These options have proven successful in some situations, but some have had limitations including reduced visibility, hard to place or move around the beach, or just plain ugly.

Shellharbour Council recently approved the construction of a new permanent lifeguard tower at Warilla Beach. There were some foreseeable issues with construction, the main one was construction is unavoidably scheduled during the patrol season. To ensure the disruption to the service was limited, Shellharbour

●● ●●

minimum 180-degree vision from inside the tower raised platform to give lifeguards uninterrupted vision of swimmers and beach users access to shade and protection from the wind house a minimum of two lifeguards comfortably.

The fabricators from Shellharbour Council liaised with a local engineering firm to ensure the structural integrity was fit-forpurpose and able to be situated in the proposed location. The tower is made of stainless steel and aluminium, materials suited perfectly for the salty beach environment. The tower has a front ramp, which eliminated the need for stairs or a ladder. These caused consternation because previous council lifeguard structures with stairs on portable sheds were consistently being eroded or broken off due to vandalism. One of the key features is the front window, which occupies most of the front wall. This, paired with two smaller side windows and the elevation provided by the tower, achieves the vision requirements set. The tower has been in place for several weeks and from all reports lifeguards are more than happy with it. There has also been a positive response from the community, with pictures of the tower popping up on social media. Shellharbour Council Lifeguard Service is fortunate to have the support of council to undertake a project like this. Building this first-of-type tower had its challenges but in the end council achieved a result that is not only practical, but also affordable and aesthetically pleasing. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 7




ifeguards understand, and regularly respond to, risks to people in the water and on the beach. But what about when lifesaving assets and infrastructure, and even the beaches that are so important to all Australians are at risk from the sea? Climate change, and more specifically sea-level rise, threatens lifeguard services and local surf life saving clubs (SLSCs) around Australia, and lifesaving services need to think about how they will adapt to these changes.

WHAT’S AT RISK FOR LIFESAVING SERVICES? To facilitate the business of saving lives, lifesaving service infrastructure is built close to the shoreline. Its been estimated that 63 per cent of all SLSCs are built in areas of potential instability and are already vulnerable to damage from storms, erosion and flooding from the sea. Climate change will worsen those risks. Storms (including cyclones and East Coast Lows) generate powerful waves and winds that produce storm tides and erosion. Sea-level rise will increase the height of storm tides, increasing the areas at risk of erosion and inundation. Erosion of dunes and beaches can cause damage to structures by reducing the stability of foundations, causing settlement of the structure or directly undercutting the structure, causing a collapse of the footings and exposing the structure to wave action. Any damage is likely to be expensive and to interrupt daily operations. For some assets there may even become a point at which it becomes more cost-effective and practical to relocate them. Increased flooding or damage to local infrastructure can also create access problems for lifesaving and emergency services.

8 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

Increasing heat is also an issue for staff, volunteers and the community. In most parts of Australia we are fairly well set up for working in a hot climate, but even the youngest, fittest people can experience health problems and even death on extremely hot days. Risks include cardiac arrest, heat exhaustion and dehydration as well behavioural changes and impacts on mental health. People will head to the beach on hot days, and this often results in increased work for lifeguards on duty.

HOW DO LIFESAVING SERVICES GET READY? Climate change is a complex problem for small organisations to consider, but there are a few simple steps to take to start thinking about how to adapt to climate change. In 2017, Australia’s National Climate Change Research Facility (NCCARF) launched an online platform to help anyone with an interest in Australia’s coast, or facing the effects from climate change and sea-level rise, understand climate risks, and make plans to address them. The website–CoastAdapt (www.coastadapt. com.au)–gives guidance on what can be done to respond to those risks. It includes information on what climate change is, what to expect, the risks involved and most importantly, how to plan to


address these risks. The information has been produced by experts, but reviewed by non-technical users to ensure it is easily understandable and usable. Short summaries also allow users to skim through and gain a general understanding of the information. For lifeguards, the first step is to identify what your risks are likely to be (a first-pass risk assessment–see Box 2) and how much time you have to plan for them. It means considering the sediment dynamics associated with your beaches, what sea-level rise is likely to occur in your area, and how past events have impacted beaches assets your stakeholders. For example, services with infrastructure on erosion-prone sandy shores are likely need to consider protecting or planning to relocate those assets in the near future. Services in higher locations or on rocky shores, should think about sea-level rise and associated flooding, and when that may occur. For lifeguards and volunteers thought might need to be given to what tasks they carry out at what time of the day and ensuring work practices reduce the risk of health impacts of heat. It might also include an awareness of risks to beachgoers.

TABLE 1: HOW AND WHEN WILL CLIMATE CHANGE? The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the CSIRO produce projections of climate change in the near and distant future (https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/) (Table 1). All future projections, just like weather forecasts, are based on the best information and models and give us an indication of what to expect. For Australia in general we can expect increased temperatures, changes in rainfall and cyclone intensity and higher sea levels. You can search for sea-level rise projections in your region by entering your postcode into the ‘Sea-level rise and you’ page of CoastAdapt (https://coastadapt.com.au/sea-level-riseinformation-all-australian-coastal-councils).




If global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are strong (e.g. more renewable energy use, less car pollution), then that might only be an increase of 1.2–2.7°C by the end of the century. But if greenhouse gas emissions continue along the way they are at the moment, it could be as much as 2.5–5.0 °C by 2090.

Immediate changes High Confidence

Extremely hot days Immediate changes High Confidence Sea level rise Mid century

More than twice the number in some cities. For example, Darwin currently experiences 11 days over 35°C a year, but might have as many as 265 by 2090. Projected to rise by as much as 0.52 to 0.98m by 2100 bringing increased risk of coastal flooding during storms

High confidence Rainfall extremes Mid century Medium confidence Storms and cyclones

Extreme rainfall events or higher rainfall intensities likely to become more common throughout Australia, and droughts are expected to be more intense and more frequent in southern Australia Fewer extreme storms but increased intensity

Mid century Medium confidence

BOX 2: RISK ASSESSMENT The steps in undertaking a risk assessment to understand not only what risks you face, but how important they might be to address

There is a wealth of information in CoastAdapt that can help to build knowledge and understanding of the risks and if necessary, to act on climate change. The website provides help on how best to identify and engage with internal and external stakeholders, how to develop a business case for action and what to consider when developing a plan. The lifesaving sector is an incredibly important asset for Australia, and it is important that it remains that way into the future. Access CoastAdapt, to learn, be inspired by others and most importantly to assess risk and plan for the future. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 9



For rangers in Far North Queensland


ith Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) already proving to be a potential lifesaver on the state’s beaches, The Ripper Group took their experience and knowledge on the road last July to showcase this exciting technology to the rangers of Far North Queensland.

The landscape to be monitored

James instructing how to operate the RPA

Port Macquarie lifeguard supervisor James Turnham was selected to represent the Australian Lifeguard Service on the five-day trip to some of the country’s most remote areas.

For James Turnham though, the journey was a valuable cultural experience and he revelled in the opportunity to share his knowledge of the beach with the locals.

This major RPA training program involved specialist trainers from The Ripper Group who worked with the Cape York Development Group to deliver the course to rangers from Coen and Aurukun in remote Far North Queensland.

Whether it’s being involved in a search for a distressed swimmer on a Port Macquarie beach or counting wild pigs in the untamed landscape of Far North Queensland, the sky is the limit for RPA technology, and lifeguards will continue to be involved at the cutting edge.

The aim of the visit was to meet with the Indigenous rangers, offer training in the basics of RPA technology, and also highlight the opportunities that it offers for important environmental programs without relying on additional support. “Leading up to the trip, I was curious as to how well the rangers would accept the new technology for their work on the land, because they know and manage it so well already. “It was a pretty special feeling when we first gave an introduction and demonstration to the group; their eyes lit up and they were amazed at what these drones were capable of,” said James. Because of the sheer size of the mostly untouched landscape, there are numerous ways in which RPAs could be integrated into daily activities and to help with ranger duties. Some of these include monitoring the nesting pattern of turtles along the coast, counting wild pig numbers, quickly spotting bushfires and monitoring the quality of lagoons and wetlands.

10 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

FNQ rangers who undertook the training




tilising all available technology to help fulfil their duties is second nature to NSW lifeguards, and this season their eyes will extend to the sky as they strive to keep beachgoers safe.

Twenty-one lifeguards from around the state have been put through a gruelling training program at Port Macquarie to obtain their official CASA licence. The qualification allows them to fly the Westpac Little Ripper RPAs (below) during their patrol duties.

to anything I’d ever done before in surf life saving or lifeguarding,” said the Port Macquarie based lifeguard. “We are doing further training on the RPAs whenever we can. We can’t wait to get our hours up and be able to use them on the beaches as soon as possible.”

One of those who earned their wings in the inaugural class was Toni Hurkett (right), who became the first female Little Ripper pilot. “I was offered to do the four-day course and jumped at the chance. It was a great experience and was really interesting to learn about something completely different

“Because of the sheer size of the mostly untouched landscape, there are numerous ways in which RPAs could be integrated into daily life for the rangers to help them in their duties.”

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 11



he ocean draws many of us in, and can be an exciting and sensory-rich experience, with the rhythmic waves, the tingly feeling of the saltwater and sand on our skin, the peace and tranquillity of being underwater. And for people on the autism spectrum or with a disability, the ocean is a place where you can just be yourself.

We know that people on the autism spectrum can be fantastic, capable swimmers. But what happens when someone who understands or perceives the world in a different way, is completely fearless of the ocean? Or perhaps they know how to swim in a pool, but have difficulty translating their knowledge to the ocean environment? It can lead to dangerous situations for people on the spectrum. In fact, from 2009 to 2011 in the USA, accidental drowning accounted for 91 per cent of deaths in children on the autism spectrum under 14 years. With more than one in every 100 Australians being on the autism spectrum, it is most likely you will encounter someone on the spectrum at your beach. At Aspect, we are working with Surf Life Saving to create inclusive beaches. We want everybody to feel welcomed, supported and most importantly, safe at the beach. We will be working with a number of SLSCs to develop inclusion techniques for disability that can support Age Managers with Nipper programs and support lifeguards on patrols. 12 Australian Lifeguard Magazine


do things a certain way, or need longer to process information. You might need to have a Plan B.

Inclusive Beaches

Building an autism-friendly Australia one beach at a time

Autism Spectrum Australia is passionate about creating

an autism-friendly Australia, where

everyone has access to and can meaningfully participate in the

same opportunities.

We know that making small changes to environments or services can make a

huge difference for people on the spectrum and their families. Using this model, we hope to make the beach


2017/2018 Season What’s involved for SLSCs •

Individualised consultation

Specialist training

Useful resources

Online learning

Event support

Dedicated Aspect staff

inclusive for all. We hope to achieve •

Increased understanding and capacity within SLSCs

Inclusive practices embedded into activities and resources readily available

People with disabilities can participate in beach activities such as Nippers

We know that making small changes can make a real difference for people on the spectrum and their families. Using this model, we hope to make the beach inclusive for all. We have outlined our top tips for working with adults and children with a disability while at the beach:

ON PATROL Make it fun and positive: If you are trying to explain the importance of flags, but you are not sure if your message is being understood, try to make it fun and interactive. While the boundaries are clear on the sand, they might not be so clear in the water. Try measuring how far away from the flags they should be in footsteps or wades or practise running to the flag within 20 seconds so that the boundaries are clear. Try to focus on what someone should do, rather than what they shouldn’t do. Acknowledge and validate fears or dislikes: People on the autism spectrum can experience the environment differently and might not want to take part in certain activities. Sometimes when we are trying to reassure someone, we might downplay or brush past their concerns, because we don’t want to make a big deal of them. It’s important to acknowledge how people can be feeling and let them know that you are here to help. “I know the waves are big. It’s okay to feel scared of big waves. We can stay in the shallows.” Be patient, flexible and stay calm: Where possible, take things slowly and remain patient. People on the spectrum might like to

Funded by the NDIS through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) – ILC National Readiness Grants.

For more information www.inclusion.net.au beaches@aspect.org.au 0435 656 213

Supported by

Don’t take differences personally: Remember that everyone is different and has their own way of showing how they are feeling. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get eye contact when you are speaking with someone or if they don’t want to give you a high-five, these behaviours can mean different things for different people.

IN NIPPERS OR SURF EDUCATION Structured timetable: Structure, routine and predictability can alleviate anxiety and help people understand what is expected. For Nippers, run sessions in a similar format each week and embed routines into your activities, such as sitting on the sand at the start of each new activity and stretching at the end of each activity.

Structured activities: Structure your activities so that they can be easily understood, just by looking at the way they’re set up. For example, when setting up sprints, make sure you have a visible start and finish line, clear lanes to run in and visual markers such as cones for participants to line up behind. Simple visual communication: Many children and adults with disabilities respond well to visuals. For Nippers, it can be really useful to have a visual timetable with photographs of the session’s activities in the order they will occur, so everyone can see what is happening. Speak in a step-by-step logical order. Try to use simple language and stay away from long sentences involving abstract concepts. Use gestures along with your words and always communicate with someone on their level–a tall, towering adult could be scary! Shared expectations: Prepare individuals for what to expect. Surprises or sudden changes to a plan can be distressing. Demonstrating what you mean rather than relying only on what you say can help clarify what is expected of each individual. Counting can be useful in letting people know when to expect something. “Let’s move over to the tent in 5 seconds. Count with me. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, okay let’s go.” You can find out more about the Inclusive Beaches project at www.inclusion.net.au The Inclusive Beaches project is funded by the NDIS through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) – ILC National Readiness Grants.

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 13




he marine environment can provide misleading signs that conditions are safe for rock fishing, boating or swimming. Despite a shining sun and calm beach weather, weather systems far off the coast can generate swells that make coastal activities extremely dangerous for anyone.

THE NEW SERVICE In collaboration with its marine safety partners, the Bureau of Meteorology has launched a new Hazardous Surf Warning which covers coastal waters in New South Wales and southern Queensland. This service is a response to growing evidence that coastal users are at risk from long-period, high-energy swells generated from distant weather systems. Analysis of coastal drowning events has shown these conditions can be extremely dangerous for rock fishers, swimmers and boaters navigating bar crossings. Surveys conducted by the Bureau show that awareness of large and powerful wave conditions would influence over 90 per cent of rock fishers to change their plans. The new Hazardous Surf Warning complements the existing suite of marine warnings as well as the caution statements included in the Bureau’s routine coastal waters forecasts in New South Wales and southern Queensland. A warning is issued up to 42 hours in advance, that is, for today and/or tomorrow. The warning is issued when the surf is expected to meet a threshold indicating dangerous conditions for coastal activities. This ‘hazardous’ threshold is based on wave height, swell direction and swell period. It was developed from analyses of wave climatology and conditions linked with incidents and fatalities in these areas. Further research is needed to develop the thresholds required to extend the warnings and caution statements to other areas around Australia. Launch of the Hazardous Surf Warning at Coogee, NSW in July 2017

14 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

above Hazardous Surf Warnings are promoted on the Bureau’s NSW and QLD Twitter accounts


A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT The warning service was developed in consultation with marine safety partners at a national and state level. Key agencies involved include SLSA, Maritime Queensland, Marine Rescue NSW, Transport for NSW, and NSW Department of Justice. The warning products also include safety advice that was developed together with SLSQ and New South Wales Marine Area Command. Surf Life Saving New South Wales Chief Operating Officer Adam Weir said the new system of surf warnings will be a big asset to lifesavers in alerting the public to hazardous conditions. “To be able to better target our safety messaging to the public will help us to focus our lifesaving efforts where they are needed most,” he said.

The Hazardous Surf Warning aligns with the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2016–20 commitment to reduce drowning.

HOW TO CHECK IF A WARNING IS CURRENT To find out whether a Hazardous Surf Warning is current: ●●



c heck the current warnings section of the Bureau’s website www.bom.gov.au check the current warnings on the BOM Weather mobile app or m.bom.gov.au mobile website tune in to your local VHF marine radio channel.

For more information, see https://bom.is/hazsurf

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 15



Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division


or 100 years, the men and women in red and yellow have kept the shores of O’ahu, Hawai‘i safe. From the modest beginnings of two lifeguards overseeing the beaches of Waikiki to the present day, they patrol 318 km (198 miles) of coastline around O‘ahu. The Honolulu Ocean Safety Division is a highly respected lifeguard service that’s underpinned by a group of women and men that are the embodiment of what it means to be a lifeguard. They are arguably some of the best watermen and women in the world, with incredible skills in the water and a passion for the ocean. On O’ahu, the lifeguard services commenced in 1917 with the establishment of lifesaving patrols under Legislature Act 201 of the Territory of Hawai‘i. Two lifeguards, between 18 and 40 years old were employed alongside the volunteer Waikiki Beach Boys (paid in tips) who were linked to the Moana Hotel, which is now known as the Moana Surfrider. Prior to the first contracted lifeguards, the Waikiki Beach Boys, including the father of modern surfing Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, patrolled Waikiki Beach alone and kept people safe. In 2017 the Ocean Safety and Lifeguarding Service celebrated 100 years of service. Public acknowledgement was given through local government ceremonies and the division also participated in the 2017 King Kamehameha celebration parade. Today, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services (OSLS) is the primary responder for emergencies on the beaches and in the near shore waters (up to 1.6 km/1 mile) for the island of O‘ahu. The division is also part of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department alongside the Emergency Medical Services Division.

LIFEGUARD RECRUIT REQUIREMENTS AND ANNUAL RECERTIFICATION All lifeguards are required to renew their lifeguard certifications every year. ●● ●● ●● ●● ●●

●● ●● ●● ●● ●●

1,000-yard run and 1,000-yard swim in under 25 minutes 400-yard board paddle rescue in under 4 minutes Run-swim-run, 100 yard each length, in under 3 minutes Current driver’s License High School Diploma, GED or proof of high school completion Completed American Red Cross lifeguard training Completion of basic first aid USLA Open Water Lifeguard Certification, Class 1 Emergency Medical Responder Certification American Heart Association CPR with AED

16 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

As a 365-day-a-year operation, there is no off season on O’ahu, and to support this operation there are 230 qualified lifeguards. Leading the team is the Chief of Operations, Kevin Allen, who ensures that lifeguarding services are completely operational from 0700hrs until 1800hrs each day. O’ahu is divided into four districts, with each assigned one captain and three lieutenants who are responsible for daily operations: ●● South Shore (Pearl Harbor entrance to Maunalua Bay) ●● Windward (Maunalua Bay to Mokapu Peninsula (Kailua side) ●● North Shore (Mokapu Peninsula (Kanoehe side) to Ka‘ena Point) ●● Leeward (Ka‘ena Point to Pearl Harbor entrance). In 1992, personal watercraft were first incorporated as rescue tools within the North and Leeward Coast of the division. Today, two rescue watercraft response units and two mobile response units are stationed in the four districts and patrol unguarded beaches. Each side of the island has unique hazards and attractions to patrol.

Waikiki Beach remains a favourite of visitors to Hawai’i

The north shore of O’ahu

A ROYAL DAY The annual King Kamehameha Day celebration was first established in 1871 as a national holiday of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kamehameha Day was created to honour the memory of Kamehameha the Great (c. 1758–1819) who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 and became Hawai’i’s first king.

The ocean and beaches are some of the biggest drawcards for visitors to O‘ahu, and over the last decade the introduction of kayak rental and popularity of stand-up paddling has significantly increased near-shore activity. With a constant influx of visitors to Hawai’i, the number of reported injuries and drowning deaths has grown comparably too. The popularity of social media and obtaining the perfect photo attracts both adventurous visitors and residents to remote and dangerous areas around the island. Leeward (Ka‘ena Point to Pearl Harbor entrance) is considered the hidden gem of O’ahu with locations such as Electric Beach and Mermaid Cave. Both of these areas have experienced growth in visitor numbers and popularity in recent years. The east side of the island, the Ka’iwi coastline, is one of the most dangerous shorelines in the world. The stretch of coast has also become extremely popular with thrillseekers, looking to jump off cliffs or take photos along the ocean’s edge. Lifeguards are consistently responding to emergencies there, including life-threatening and fatal injuries. The South Shore, including Waikiki, attracts visitors trying surfing for the first time, as well as experienced watermen and women surfing at popular spots off the famous Diamond Head landmark. Common ocean emergencies in this area include surfing-related injuries, spinal injuries, medical conditions and drowning deaths. The North Shore is also famous for its winter surf, which can reach an impressive 18 metres (60 feet). The “Seven Mile Miracle” attracts the world’s best surfers and watermen and women. It also brings crowds of unsuspecting visitors who take unnecessary risks in the water. Significant increases in coastal activities have occurred on the North Shore and Kailua/Lanikai areas, adding additional pressure on the lifeguards and emergency services. Hanauma Bay, located on the east coast of O‘ahu, has more than 1 million visitors per year and also has the highest rate of fatalities on O‘ahu. Nearly all of these drowning deaths are related to snorkelling and a lack of knowledge about the ocean or little experience with coastal activities and swimming. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 17


Comparison of Australia and Hawai’i coastal and ocean drowning numbers 2007–16 Reference: Dan Galanis Epidemiologist Injury Prevention and Control Section, EMS & Injury Prevention Systems Branch, Hawai’i Department of Health; SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2017 Hawai‘i Australia

128 118



102 89



82 69
















Since 2007 there have been 650 recorded ocean drowning deaths in the State of Hawai’i and 90% (n=588) of all fatalities were determined to be unintentional incidents. In the past 9 years (2007-2016) the average number of drowning deaths for the state of Hawai’i was 65 and more than half (55%) of all fatalities were non-residents. However, this proportion changes slightly within each of the counties; O’ahu experienced fewer visitors drowning (45%) compared to Kauai and Maui where they are most significant, being 74% and 72% respectively. The significant number of visitors drowning can be linked to participation in activities that are popular on the Hawaiian islands. Almost a quarter (24%) of all fatalities have occurred while snorkelling and one-fifth of deaths (n =139) occurred while swimming or wading. In contrast, only 10 of the 156 snorkelling deaths in the past decade were local residents. During the period






of 2010-14 there were an additional 729 non-fatal ocean incidents, representing 77% of all non-fatal drowning incidents from 2007-16. Almost half (n=351) of these occurred on O’ahu alone. The main activities being undertaken when these incidents took place were snorkelling (27%) and swimming (22%). From 2009 to 2013 ocean activities accounted for 33% (n=208) of all spinal cord injuries in Hawai’i. The majority of these patients were also non-residents, highlighting the importance of public safety message and awareness around the islands.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS Every summer, the division co-sponsors with the North Shore Lifeguard Association to hold the Junior Lifeguard Training Program. This free ocean-safety-based program aims to provide teens (12–17 years) an introduction to water safety, first aid, CPR

OSLS lifeguards retrieve a swimmer from the shoreline at Ke Iki beach on the north shore

Photo by Anthony Tortoriello

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Hanauma Bay on the east coast of O’ahu

and surf rescue techniques, with a key emphasis on beach and ocean awareness. Some of the key skills that are taught in the program include caring for surfing-related injuries, teamwork skills and observing ocean conditions. Many participants of the Junior Lifeguards program have gone on to become City Lifeguards and County of Honolulu Lifeguards. The program is funded by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, and is held at four locations on O‘ahu. Each location has six sessions with each being five days long. More than 1,000 teenagers completed the statewide program during the past summer. The website hawaiibeachsafety.com was funded by the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. Ocean safety dispatchers provide the site with real-time information about beach and environmental conditions, active alerts and advisories, and location information including directions, facilities and regulations for beaches in the State of Hawai’i. It provides public service announcements for locations including the jump rock at Waimea and Spitting Caves. While social media has an effect on the increasing incidents, the OSLS has a strong presence online through their Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites. These platforms are primarily used for promotion of the division, though it also incorporates their safety messaging and warnings for marine animals and environmental conditions that impact safety.

“There are roughly 980,000 residents on the island of O’ahu, with 5.5 million visitors in 2016. This was a 10% increase since 2012.“ The OSLS recently (2017) teamed up with Real Hawai’i TV, Oahu’s largest visitor television channel, which is broadcast in 25,000 hotel rooms to promote four key beach safety messages. 1 Never turn your back on the ocean. 2 Snorkel with a buddy. 3 Use lifeguarded beaches. 4 When in doubt, don’t go out. These were designed to target the hotel visitors, before they reach the shoreline, to create understanding of the hazards and the respect required for the ocean and coastal environment. OSLS is challenged, like all lifeguard services, with maintaining service levels as both resident and visitor populations continue to grow and increase beach and ocean activities. Despite this challenge it continues to live up to its mission statement of providing a world-class and leading lifeguard service.

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 19


WHAT’S NEXT? Paul Hellier

Collecting rubbish from beaches in Australian and overseas, Paul is making a big difference for many communities


orking as a lifeguard has a different outcome for everyone. For some, it becomes an amazing career and part of who they are. For others, it can be a temporary job through university or it is a launching point to something else. Paul Hellier, a Port Kembla SLS club member since the age of 13, worked for 12 years as a professional lifeguard with Wollongong City Council before setting about creating a global food app and educating residents of a Vietnamese tourist island about the environmental impacts of plastic. For much of his lifeguard career Paul was one of Wollongong City Council’s fulltime lifeguards, picking up rubbish every day on his morning runs and showing what he’d found to school children in the council’s surf education program. “I wanted to show the children that what they do on the streets or in the playground impacts the ocean and who doesn’t love the ocean.” Volunteering for SLS and professional lifeguarding in his teens and twenties was a dream life. But after spending a number of years travelling the world he returned with a different view. After leaving the blessed and sheltered life of Australia, Paul’s eyes were opened to human, animal and environmental problems around the world. The once simple task of placing the flags, keeping people safe and having the best office in the world, soon became a reminder of how good it is in Australia and a frustration as to why not everyone respected this beautiful place.

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“I would run my local beach and bring back kilograms of plastic washed in from the sea. The next day I would come back and the spotless beach was again covered in plastics.” Paul was cleaning beaches in his own time, separating bottles and cans while on the rubbish run at the end of the work day, planting trees on the weekend and surfing when he could.

FROM THE BEACH TO BEYOND On rainy days Paul would study environmental science and eventually gained his degree, with the ocean as his classroom. “Lucky for me, the more I learned, the more valuable I was to the council. Some subjects at university I just didn’t need to study for. Coastal Geomorphology and Meteorology for example came naturally to me, after years of watching the weather, the swell and what it did to the beach.” Paul could use his lifeguarding skills through the summer and work on environmental programs through the winter. Until one day he set his sights outside of Wollongong, Australia, with global aspirations and big change in mind. “Of all the rubbish I picked up from the beaches, I estimated that at least 75% of it was coming from food packaging and takeaway.” After months and months of contemplation a failed attempt to buy a coffee in a ceramic cup finally lead to the idea that listing food based on environmental impact could actually help people reduce their environmental footprint. Two years on Paul now travels the world, working on his website and app Fair Food Forager.


The team behind the app recently worked in Vietnam with Phu Quoc Clean and Green to clean about 500 m of beach, filling about 100 bags with plastic. The projects reached national TV in Vietnam and will hopefully help kickstart small-scale programs testing alternatives to plastic straws and plastic recycling machines.

Common plastics collected from the beach and ocean

“The great thing about this clean-up is that we worked with inspired locals to build awareness. And while there is still a long way to go, it is an initial action that starts people thinking that it’s not okay to throw this stuff into the environment. It has extra significance because volunteer beach clean-ups might be common in Australia, they are not in Vietnam.” As if that wasn’t enough, Paul recently rode a bicycle 1,500 km from Southern Thailand, through Cambodia and into Vietnam to see the plastic situation in off-the-beaten-track locations. “There is no better way to understand a situation than to completely throw yourself into it. “I’d have to say there is hope and we can take heart from all the amazing people and groups around the world. People are running clean-ups and lobbying governments and businesses that use plastic. Momentum is growing and we believe that Fair Food Forager can be the vehicle that makes waste free food shopping an achievable goal for anyone, anywhere.” What better place to find inspiration to change the world than Australia’s beautiful beaches! Find out what you can at www.fairfoodforager.com Or download the app on iTunes or Google Play

Paul’s waste-free journey included cycling through Southeast Asia and initiating clean-ups

The Fair Food Forager app, which helps the world eat ethically Australian Lifeguard Magazine 21




ax Pettigrove has been a lifeguard for 32 years, during which time he has clocked an impressive 25,000 hours of service, performed countless rescues and attended to thousands of first aid treatments. This year he was named the DHL Australian Lifeguard of Year. Max grew up on the Sunshine Coast and began patrolling at Noosa when he was 14 years old. He has been a full-time lifeguard at Sunshine Beach since 1985 and is also a member of Sunshine Beach Surf Life Saving Club. “It’s a beautiful part of the world but it’s got some challenging conditions. It’s a long stretch of open beach and can have multiple rips and attract large swells, so you are constantly kept on your toes,” he said. Max is largely recognised by his colleagues as one of the nicest blokes you will meet, but also one of the most respected. He has become an integral part of the ongoing training and development of lifeguards throughout the Sunshine Coast region. “It’s one element of the job I really enjoy; I love the sharing of information and experience as I never stop learning myself.” Not one to shy away from a changing industry, Max became one of the first lifeguards in Queensland to complete the Remote Pilot Aerial Surveillance course and is now fully qualified a pilot of an RPA (drone). “Queensland has an incredible strip of coastline and it will never be possible for every beach to be under constant surveillance, but I do believe RPAs will add to the safety of beachgoers and I am all for that.”



Jai has been employed since 2014 by the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS). He has also honed his skills in the UK, spending a summer on the beach. Last season Jai stepped up and took on supervisory responsibilities for the Byron/Ballina area. Throughout the season Jai’s knowledge and skills were put to the test as he participated in many call-outs and administered firstaid treatments. In his spare time, he is a keen member of his local club, Lennox Head.

Cassandra is an outstanding role model for members of her club. Cassie stepped up into the role of Deputy Chief Lifeguard last season, overseeing nine beaches and a pool of over 50 lifeguards. She has also joined LSV’s Advanced Lifesaving Camp which is the premier training medium for aspiring lifeguards. She exceeded all expectations in the delivery of this five-day program. Cassie is always willing to support club activities and volunteer to assist in any capacity.

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Over the years Max has become quite a local icon, with both tourists and locals appreciating all he contributes to the community. Max acknowledges that the role of being a lifeguard is a very important one. “I love my job, but I don’t underestimate the impact it has on the community. It’s my job to keep people safe and educate them about being safe when they visit the beach. It’s something I do take seriously, but I sure have a good time doing it.”

LIAM CLIFFORD AUSTRALIAN LIFEGUARD SERVICES, SA Liam is a young, enthusiastic lifeguard who is a great role model for younger members in South Australia. At only 23 years old, his professionalism and confidence goes beyond his years. He is seen by staff and members as a skilfull person and is continually striving to improve. Liam is always willing to put his hand up and assist his supervisors to the best of his capacity. He was a well-deserved winner of SLSSA Lifeguard of the Year.

Max (centre) with Linda Clinch from DHL (left) and Chris Jacobson from SLSA (right)

PAST WINNERS–LIFEGUARD OF THE YEAR 2017 Max Pettigrove, Sunshine Beach Region, QLD 2016 Shane Bevan, Australian Lifeguard Services, QLD 2015 Luke Plant, Australian Lifeguard Services, VIC 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 Lifeuard Service NSW 2010 Lleam Rees, Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD 2009 Lachlan Holbery-Morgan, Australian Lifeguard Service, VIC 2008 Mark Young, Australian Lifeguard Service, NSW 2007 Paul Barker, QLD

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 23




eritorious awards are awarded to affiliated clubs and/or their members and/or lifeguards and/or the public for outstanding deeds of bravery performed during lifesaving operations of SLSA (during and outside of designated patrol hours). These are four of the recipients for the past season, and the actions they took in attempting to save lives.

TEISHA TOWNER Queensland Regional Lifeguard Service, Qld

On Saturday 1st October 2016 at 5.15 pm, Teisha Towner was packing up after her lifeguard shift at Oaks Beach, Burnett Heads when she noticed four people being quickly swept away in a rip current. Teisha grabbed a rescue board and paddled out through rough conditions to two children and two adults who were struggling to remain above the waterline. Two of the patients were able to grab on to the rescue board while the other two needed assistance to latch on to the board. Unable to paddle the board back to shore, Teisha managed to squeeze the two children on top of the board and float towards the safety of nearby rocks. Paramedics arrived and assessed the patients wellbeing. They were all in good health, albeit a little upset and shaken up from the incident and rescue.

Award recipient Teisha Towner

Without the direct action and advanced rescue skills displayed by Teisha, the outcome for the swimmers could have easily been one of tragedy..


Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD On the evening of 24th December 2016, the Gold Coast Dusk Patrol was alerted to a man in distress near Surfers Paradise. He had been swept 100 m out to sea in a strong rip current and began to struggle in the water. Jack grabbed his rescue board from the 4WD and swiftly paddled out to retrieve the swimmer. The man had

24 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

taken in a lot of water and was fatigued, making it a challenge to get him on the board and return him safely to shore. The patient had an altered level of consciousness and was placed on oxygen until further assisted by a doctor and then transported to hospital.


LAUREN PRYOR & CALE CALLAGHAN Australian Lifeguard Service, NSW At approximately 1:00 pm on 26th December 2016, Cale noticed three young swimmers had been dragged/swept north of the patrol flags by a rip current. Two of these swimmers had bodyboards with them but appeared in trouble. Cale instantly grabbed a rescue board and paddled to the aid of the three swimmers. Meanwhile an elderly gentleman had also moved beyond the flags to try assist the three youths who were drifting further north. Cale brought the young girls back into the beach by placing one on the rescue board and having the others hold on to the side with their bodyboards. Once the girls were able to stand up safely, Cale was alerted that the elderly man, who had gone to their aid, was now in distress.

Cale immediately paddled back out to find the man unconscious and unresponsive. He promptly signalled for assistance to the other lifeguard, Lauren, who ran into the water with a rescue tube to assist. Due to the rough conditions and short-wave period, Cale was challenged in getting his patient onto the rescue board using the board rollover method for an unconscious patient. He attempted this manoeuvre twice while waves continued to wash against him and he continued to hold the patient and the board. Lauren arrived shortly after and helped Cale drag the man ashore. Due to the remote location, there was no radio contact with SurfCom, which added a further challenge to the lifeguards situation. Cale and Lauren immediately commenced CPR, and with the fortunate help of off-duty police officers they introduced the Oxy-Viva, the defib and applied a Guedel airway. CPR was performed for 45 minutes until the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter arrived.

Lauren Pryor–Lifeguard–Certificate of Merit Bronze with Alan Whelpton AO (left) and Graham Ford AM (right)

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 25


BYSTANDER RESCUES When everyday Australians jump in to help

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ystander rescues have recently become a research interest for SLSA. They are members of the public who witness someone in trouble and go to their assistance, often as an impulsive act to save a life.

6% 6%

The Australian coastline is an enormous stretch almost 30,000 km long with approximately 4% patrolled by lifeguards and lifesavers. That leaves 96% of Australian beaches unsupervised by those who are most qualified to help. The vast majority of drowning deaths occur away from the presence of lifeguards and lifesaving services. In many of these locations bystanders often represent the only chance of rescue when someone gets into trouble. A survey among Australian adults revealed that roughly 2.1 million people have ever rescued someone else when participating in coastal activities1. But despite the willingness to respond, many people simply lack the physical competency, knowledge and skills to carry out a successful rescue. Even tasks that may look simple can be remarkably hard, especially in the ocean. An Australian study in 20092 tested the ability of adults to throw a lifeline or lifebuoy to a drowning victim in a pool environment. Without training, more than half of the participants could not throw a lifeline accurately to a distance of 10 m. A rescues success can be further detrimented by an individual’s lack of confidence in the coastal environment and knowledge of its hazards. According to the latest SLSA Coastal Safety Survey1,, 37% of Australians self-identified as competent swimmers overall, but only 24% rated themselves competent swimmers in the ocean. Less than half (45%) of people said they could swim 50 m in the ocean and a quarter of people (24%) had never swum this distance. Studies3 have found that many rock fishers, who commonly get rescued, cannot swim at all. Furthermore, the survey shows a significant lack of awareness among the general public about coastal hazards. Almost half (46%) of Australians view the beach as not very or not at all, hazardous.




Dog Student Unknown

reporting they had needed rescuing at some point. Surfers rank high in the rescue statistics, with 13% needing assistance at some point. Surfers also represent the largest group of individuals that are most likely to rescue others; 28% say they have had to help someone else in the water at some point. However a study from 2015 estimated that rescues conducted by surfers in Australia could be on par with those done by lifesaving services4. In addition to acquiring information about general bystander rescues, Surf Life Saving Australia has also conducted a research project looking into specific bystander rescues that end in tragedywhere rescuers have ultimately lost their lives. Four per cent of people who have drowned at the Australian coast in the past 13 years did so while attempting to rescue someone else.


●● ●● ●●


Figure 1. Rescues while participating in coastal activities

T wo-thirds (64%) of bystanders were attempting to rescue a family member and another 10% were rescuing a friend (Fig. 2). Most rescuers were male (79%). Rip currents played a role in 70% of bystander drowning deaths. A large majority of rescuers were Australian residents (87%) and locals at the rescue site (68%). Every single person who drowned while performing a rescue jumped in without a flotation device.

This information helps to identify common factors and gaps in public knowledge about safe rescues. With this insight we are able to look at developing an effective communication strategy and it provides the evidence for developing future services. The more we know about these incidents, the more people we can save in the future.

% who have been rescued % who have performed rescue


13% 10%


11% 9%




6% 4%

Scuba Diving


rescuing family

16% 13%


Key insights of the research are:

There are noticeable differences between the number of bystander rescues within different coastal activities (Fig. 1). Scuba divers most commonly need rescuing, with 28% 28%


Shane Daw, National Coastal Risk and Safety Manager, Surf Life Saving Australia, said “Any loss of life is tragic, but even more so when someone has lost their life attempting to save someone else.”

We know very little about the circumstances that influence bystander rescues and the factors that make for a successful or an unsuccessful rescue.



Figure 2. Individuals who were being rescued by bystanders



Rock Fishing




Jet Ski

4% Boating




1 National Coastal Safety Survey (2017) Newspoll/Omnipoll Online Omnibus. April 2017. 2 P earn, J.H. & Franklin, R.C. (2009) “Flinging the Squaler” Lifeline Rescues for Drowning Prevention. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 3, 315–321. 3M  oran, K. (2011) Rock-Based Fisher Safety Promotion: Five Years On. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 5, 164–173. 4A  ttard, A., Brander, R.W., Shaw, W.S. (2015) Rescues conducted by surfers on Australian beaches. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 82, 70–78.

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 27


Five minutes with…



eet the newly appointed Manager of Lifeguard Services for Life Saving Victoria. Briana has a long and diverse background in lifesaving and public health, which makes her the perfect fit for the role. Where do you call home? The Gold Coast. Have you always lived in Melbourne? No–I moved to Melbourne once I graduated university for further career opportunities. Very happy with my move, as Melbourne is a great city once you adapt to the cold. How did you first get involved in surf life saving? My parents enrolled me as a Nipper to learn about beach safety and I have loved the organisation and all it stands for ever since, I have never stopped being involved since that day. What made you apply for a lifeguard management position? I studied Public Health and Nutrition and have also just completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Management, therefore the role of Manager–Lifeguard Services for Lifesaving Victoria feels like a perfect fit for me. This is because it incorporates my skills and knowledge around health promotion, preventative actions and public health, as well as business management, client relations and stakeholder skills. The role also ties in closely with the skills I gained from my previous role which was Health and Wellbeing Manager. Most importantly Life Saving Victoria as an organisation drew me to this role. I strongly believe in the mission and values they uphold.

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I wanted this role as I feel I can make a real difference to the experiences of Victorians and visitors to our beautiful beaches and waterways. Are there any other activities/sports that you enjoy? Growing up I did all types of sports: netball, gymnastics, aerobics, swimming and athletics. Now it just comes down to having the time, I do really enjoy team sports. Do you have any hidden talents outside of the water? None that I have discovered! How do you prepare for a day on patrol? Preferably a restful day prior, early night and good nutritious dinner. I now patrol in Victoria (in the past I did in Queensland) and I have quickly learnt that it doesn’t matter how hot it is at the start of patrol, or what the weather forecast is, packing for all four seasons is essential!


NATIONAL OVERVIEW This report presents a national summary of coastal drowning deaths and participation profiles from SLSA’s National Coastal Safety Report 2017. The full report, including state summaries, is available at sls.com.au/publications.

N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W 2 016 -17: 1-Y E A R R E V I E W






Number (n)



8 0.03 6 0.02 4 0.01

2 0

Rate (per 100,000 pop.)




10-14 15-19

20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39

40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70-74

75-79 80-84



Figure 4

2016-17: COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS BY AGE AND GENDER (n=116) The age groups representing the highest rate of fatalities are 50-54 and 55-59 years (0.05 rate per 100,000 pop.). Only in the 70-74 age category did female drowning deaths outnumber male drowning deaths. Overall, 83% (n=96) fatalities were male.



3% 4%









28% Swimming/ Wading 23% 14%

Swimming/Wading Boating & PWC Snorkelling Watercraft Rock Fishing Scuba Diving Rock/Cliff Attempting a Rescue Other Unknown


43% Beach 26%


Beach Offshore Rock/Cliff Bay Jetty Marina Coastal Creek Coastal Pool/Bath

Figure 5

Figure 6



The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred when an individual was participating in swimming or wading (n=32), boating (n=27), snorkelling (n=16), using non-powered watercraft (n=10) or rock fishing (n=9).

The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach (n=50), offshore (n=30) or at rock/cliff locations (n=17). Beach and rock/cliff locations show a decrease (beach: 48% in 2015-16 and 56% in 2014-15; rock/cliff: 19% in 2015-16 and 22% in 2014-15). Offshore percentage remains at 26% since 2015-16 after increasing from 16% in 2014-15.







Number (n)






1.0 4 0.8


15 0.6







Rate (per 100,000 pop.)











Figure 7

2016–17: COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS PER STATE (n=116) Of the 116 coastal drowning deaths, 28% occurred in NSW, 19% in Qld, 13% in Vic, 22% in WA, 9% in SA, 7% in Tas and 3% in NT. In NSW and Vic the rate per 100,000 population is lower than the 13-year average, while in the other states the rate per 100,000 population is higher than the 13-year average.


9% 9% 26%




Less than 1km



26% > 5km 1-5km <1km Ocean

Less than 10km


<10km 10-50km >50km International Unknown

Figure 8

Figure 9



Thirty individuals (26%) drowned within 1km of the nearest lifesaving service. Of these, 47% (n=16) occurred during patrolled seasons and/or times.

Thirty-four individuals lived less than 10km from the drowning location.



ince 2007 Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and Japan Life Saving Association (JLA) have had a valuable partnership. This has developed to provide an opportunity for enthusiastic members to participate in a Japan-Australia Lifesaver Exchange Program. 2017 celebrates the fourth year the program has been offered and another successful example of international lifesaving partnerships. During July this year, four SLSA members travelled to Japan for a 24-day volunteer program that consisted of two key periods: they participated in lifesaving operations and training of lifeguards at Onjuku Beach (Onjuku, Isumi county, Chiba) and then assisted in delivering a water safety program at Iwai Beach (Kushi, Minami-Bosi city, Chiba). Both activities were delivered to junior high school students and reached approximately 100 and 400 students respectively. Tom Sealy from Mermaid Beach AEME (Queensland), Stephanie Amy from 13th Beach/Barwon Heads, Lewis Howell-Pavia from Ocean Grove (Victoria) and Lara Boyle from Whale Beach (NSW) each applied for the exchange program. They all had years of experience in lifesaving operations and delivering surf safety education. Their qualifications gained through SLSA and the experiences they have obtained in unique conditions have proved that Australia’s surf rescue personnel are second to none.

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Some of the key issues on Japan’s Onjuku beaches were noted to be weak swimmers, intoxicated swimmers and swimmers drifting offshore on inflatable equipment with a slight breeze. Lifesaver Lara Boyle explained that alcohol is legal along the beach and several rescues were necessary as a result. Similarly, the number of inflatable toys being used along the coast meant that many swimmers, especially those who aren’t strongly skilled, require assistance to get back to shore safely. As for patrol methods, Lara noted that there is the same high standard across Australian and Japanese services and the same equipment, uniform and rescue techniques are adopted.

Lara, Stephanie, Lewis and Tom with JLA representatives


“There is the same high standard [of patrol methods] across Australian and Japanese services.”

‘SELFLESS, HUMBLE, RESPECTFUL’ The exchange group demonstrating resuscitation skills

These three words vividly describe the lifesavers of Japan, and will resonate with me in my memories of them, and this year’s Japan Lifesaving Exchange Program, for many years to come. There were many highlights along the journey, yet the one that topped the lot occurred mid-way through our involvement with the Iwai School Education Programs. Despite my limited knowledge of Japanese I was able to lead a number of sessions with groups of 13-year-old school children focusing on familiarisation and appreciation of the beach, self-preservation and setting personal challenges. Many of them had never been to the beach before, let alone felt comfortable in the salt water and being hit by (small) waves.

The team at Iwai

The main difference between the services exists with positioning of patrol flags. While in Australia lifeguards determine the location of the swimming area based on daily conditions, the services in Japan are based around permanently designated swimming areas that are marked out by both buoys and flags, regardless of conditions. The JLA consider Australian lifeguards to be great advocates in developing awareness of water safety and enhancing lifesaving activities. Through the continuation of exchanges, both organisations can further develop and share lifesaving skills, as well as educate juniors and students, which ultimately enhances local safety management and prevent coastal drowning. The Australian Lifesaving Exchange Program is not only a fantastic opportunity to share skills and safety initiatives, it also offers an immersion experience into Japanese working and cultural customs. For those interested in future exchange opportunities, the call for nominations for this program begin in early 2018.

I concentrated on refining my English to simple commands paired with plenty of demonstrations–it seemed to be received well! The next day I was approached by one of our head instructors who explained that the headmaster of the school had commented on my ability to successfully encourage a number of girls in my previous group to have the confidence to submerse themselves completely under water for the very first time. I was pretty stoked with this effort! There was no doubt that teamwork, communication and leadership skills were developed throughout this trip. I was constantly amazed at the support and friendly nature  of my three fellow Australian lifesavers. I was lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people who complemented my personality and enriched the entire exchange experience. We shared each experience with a light-hearted nature and pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones all with smiles on our faces. I will forever value the saying ‘surround yourself with good, intelligent, kind-hearted positive loving people’. My advice for future participants is to embrace every opportunity that is given to you throughout the exchangewhether it’s meeting dignitaries, delivering a speech in front of a crowd or finally tasting that unique looking delicacy that appears on your breakfast platter each morning. Take the time to stop and listen to all of the people you meet and appreciate the truly unique environment surrounding you. Recount by Tom Sealy, exchange participant in 2017.  Tom is the Patrol Captain for Dillon Patrol at Mermaid Beach and deputy president of his club.

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 33



The race start on Moloka’i (right) and finish on O’ahu (left)


ate Theodor-Gallagher recounts her experience being a part of the most challenging paddle race in the world–Moloka’i 2 O’ahu.

At 52 km long, 2,300 ft (700 m) deep and known as one of the world’s most treacherous bodies of water, the Moloka’i or Ka’iwi Channel crossing separates the islands of Moloka’i and O’ahu and hosts some of the world’s top paddlers each year. When boarding the plane from Sydney to O’ahu in July this year, I could never have predicted the awe-inspiring journey I was about to embark on, the incredible feats of human determination I was about to witness and the beautiful people I was about to meet. Each year, men and women from more than 30 countries around the world make the journey to beautiful Hawai’i to face some of the most confronting oceanic conditions on the planet. The Ka’iwi Channel is one of the most treacherous in the world and its English translation–‘Channel of Bones’ accurately describes the water body that has claimed so many lives. The culmination of foul weather and powerful swells pushing through narrow canyons has resulted in destruction of entire fleets and claimed the lives of both fishers and watermen. Navigating the Channel of Bones is now renowned worldwide as a crowning achievement within the sport of paddleboarding. Top ranking athletes can typically complete the crossing within five hours, riding mid-channel waves that can carry athletes hundreds of metres downwind at a time. Common ailments from the crossing can vary from extreme sunburn to being swarmed by schools of flying fish. Competitors can also be confronted with a variety of marine hazards including whales and sharks, 10 m swells and vicious winds. But the conditions and the challenges that arise on any day of the year are in the hands of Mother Nature alone, and are never one and the same.

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Gathering for pre-race prayer

This year I followed Matt Bevilacqua and Harriet Brown as they took flight to the beautiful island of Hawai’i, not yet fully grasping the enormity of what they were about to undertake. “What will be will be” Bevilacqua, who was looking for his third victory, stated. Harriet, on the other hand, had never been to Hawai’i before, let alone crossed the channel. The one thing that Matt kept saying, which seemed to become a unanimous theme among so many athletes I met, was that experience in the race did not necessarily give you any sort of advantage. How was this possible? Surely knowing the channel and having previously raced would give you a slight benefit? As I spoke to different athletes, locals and Moloka’i2-O’ahu staff, I quickly realised that every year had a different story, a different challenge and a different outcome. Conditions each year varied so dramatically in every story that I began to realise Matt had not been exaggerating-no two crossings were ever the same.

Matt Bevilacqua racing

“Moloka’i is all about mental strength. Not just the preparation, but the race itself because you never know what you are going to be presented with. For the majority of the time there’s nobody around you, your escort boat can’t come very close and competitors spread out for miles. It’s such a weird and eerie feeling, but it all boils down to how much mental strength you can channel, and how bad you really want it” – Matt Bevilacqua, 2017 3X Prone Paddleboard Champion and current world record holder. Over the years a select few of Australia’s Surf Life Saving elite athletes have taken part in this daring race, including Iron Woman and 6X Moloka’i Champion, Jordan Mercer, reigning Ironman champion Matt Poole, Lizzie Welborn, Naomi Flood and so many more. This year, Surf Life Saving saw a record number of its athletes taking on the challenge. They dedicated their off-season to gruelling winter training schedules and preparing for what would be one of the most mentally and physically challenging races of their lives. These athletes joined some of the toughest and most iconic water athletes from around the globe, from the likes of Kai Lenny and Jamie Mitchell to our Waverley Council neighbours Harries Carroll, Andrew Reid and Ryan Clarke from Channel Tens ‘Bondi Rescue’. Moloka’i 2 O’ahu, like most surf races, consists of multiple categories and winners. Competitors can choose to race on either a traditional paddleboard or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) as a solo paddler or as a team with two or three competitors. Teams can choose how often they want to rotate throughout the race. Some teams do half the race each, others alternate every half hour. It all comes down to strategy and individual team choice.

Solo paddlers on either traditional or stand up paddleboards can choose to paddle in either the unlimited or stock class of boards. Stock boards perform well in choppy water and can easily accelerate. Unlimited boards are currently the fastest class. Their speed comes from their extended waterline and allows the paddler to have a longer glide per stroke. Unlike stock boards however, they can be difficult to handle in choppy water and their length makes them harder to transport and store. Modern unlimited boards also have rudders that are steered by a tiller between the paddler’s feet. These are what Harriet and Matt both chose to race on. Athletes select their category and submit their application to race at the beginning of each year. If they qualify, they then carefully carve out a training schedule that prepares them for endurance style racing and unpredictable conditions they will be racing within. For Australian athletes, training is done in the midst of winter; freezing cold water, pitch black mornings and a lot of variable weather conditions.

Training session at Portlock Australian Lifeguard Magazine 35


Harriet Brown during her first race

“Get out there and train. Whatever conditions, whatever wind, whatever surf. The worst days of training can mirror the conditions you will get on race day, you just never know. Be safe. Keep swimming, even if you hate it. The swimming makes up the bulk of training for Moloka’i and will enable you to be able to cross 52 km of ocean even if it’s dead flat…which it could be!” –Matt Bevilacqua. The morning of the race is filled with a mixture of fear, anticipation and a deafening silence. “There is an aura that cannot be described unless you have stood on the beach and felt it in the air. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I think I had a fear that my body wouldn’t let me paddle that far. The distance was what scared me the most. But I was also excited and the vibes at the start lines were unlike anything I have experienced in a race before. When standing around in a circle with everyone holding hands for the pre-race prayer, I felt a calmness come over me that continued right throughout the race.” – Harriet Brown, Prone Paddleboard Champion 2017 M2O Prone Paddleboard Champion and world record holder. If luck and conditions are permitting, the outline of O’ahu can be sighted from the starting line at Moloka’i, and for first timers like Harriet Brown this only reinforced what the flight over the day before had shown–it was a very, very long paddle back to O’ahu. “Flying over from O’ahu to Moloka’i the day before, looking out the window and knowing I had to paddle that whole way back the next day felt incredibly surreal.” – Harriet Brown. 36 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

Before the beginning of the race, all competitors, support teams and staff joined together, hand in hand, in a prayer circle led by Mike Takashi and Clark Abbey. They paid respects to the body of water ahead, wishing safe travels and taking a moment to join together and appreciate the journey everyone was about to embark on. “We are gathered here today, from around the world and we want to thank you for the opportunity for us to paddle across the channel. We ask you for your blessing upon us to give us safety and to bless our escort boats and the crew. To bless our families who will be at finish to greet us, and to bring them there safely. We ask you, Lord, to give us strength to paddle across the channel, one stroke at a time, one paddle at the time, one bump at a time until we make it there and finish the race” – Clark Abbey and Mike Takashi, M2O Founders Within minutes, support crews and escort boats were in place, paddlers were in line and the paddleboard races began. Competitors cannot compete in the race unless they have an escort boat to accompany them from one island to the other. This is to ensure their safety, and to give family, friends and staff the opportunity to track the progress of the race with trackers attached to each vessel. Competitors do not stop throughout the race, and they stock their boards with energy gels, water, electrolytes and for some even a sandwich or two! Both Bevilacqua and Brown started out strong. The conditions were perfect, giving way to a close race for the first hour or so. However, as competitors started to spread out, Matt and Harriet took a steady lead in their individual categories. Conditions continued to give way to close racing, however, as each hour


ticked by competitors began to withdraw due to heat exhaustion, dehydration and a multitude of other ailments. Bevilacqua and Brown, however, remained strong and as the competitors crossed the final point at China Wall–the south-east point of O’ahu that signals the penultimate mile–both showed no signs of slowing down. As the crowds began to arrive from Moloka’i and around Honolulu, the atmosphere was nothing short of electric. We all knew where these competitors had come from, and we knew we were now counting down the minutes until our first-place champions would be coming into sight. To the naked eye these elite athletes showed little signs of exhaustion. As Matt rounded China Wall, there was no stopping him and as he paddled into sight of the finish line the crowd went absolutely wild. I could barely contain my excitement as I joined spectators, family and friends as we cheered from the finish line. I was so incredibly proud that one of our own was racing against the clock to not only take first place, but to beat his own world record. And he did it! Crossing the channel in 4 hours, 29 minutes and 32 seconds, Matt Bevilacqua had now won his third Moloka’i-2-O’ahu title and beaten his own world record by 12 seconds. For someone who had just completed 52 km on a paddleboard, he was still full of life. Hands in the air and a smile from ear to ear, he had done it. Meanwhile, Harriet continued her own journey and was coming into the finish line, followed by Australia’s Lizzie Welborn in second place. As Harriet came into view, the same overwhelming feeling of excitement washed over me and the crowd behind. She paddled in to the finish line at 5 hours, 14 minutes and 15 seconds, marking her first successful race and win in Hawai’i. Not only had Harriet placed first in her category, but she had beaten fellow Australian Jordan Mercer’s world record by 8 minutes and 16 seconds. As Brown took her first steps from her board, you could see the disbelief and happiness in her eyes.

“It was a pretty incredible feeling crossing the finish line. When I was paddling I wasn’t thinking about the world record, about anything other than focusing on paddling as quick as I could” – Harriet Brown Matt, Harriet and every other competitor that day achieved something incredible, and something only a handful of people worldwide have conquered. “As a Nipper I just aspired to do my best in every event I raced in. I mostly focused on short-term annual goals like winning the state titles and making a final at Aussies. It wasn’t until I was a bit older and became more involved in surf lifesaving that I set my sights on making the professional Ironwoman Series. I never knew that the sport would open so many doors and lead me to long-distance paddleboard races and give me the opportunity to be to travel the world. Board paddling has always been my favorite discipline, but I never knew it could take me here”. – Harriet Brown Matt Bevilacqua and Harriet Brown are now within their 2017/18 Summer of Surf Season and can be seen at all six rounds of the Ocean6 Series throughout Australia.

Harriet Brown winning

All photos courtesy of Jianca Lazarus

Matt Bevilacqua being congratulated

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 37




urf lifesaving services are increasingly being called upon to support lead agencies in natural disaster emergency response operations, whether it be water-based evacuations, during fire events, or rescue of the public during floods. In 2016, Surf Life Saving Tasmania (SLST) was activated to support emergency services with a flood boat response in northern Tasmania. Later in the year, SLST was again activated to support the flood response in the Huon Valley and assist with river rescues in the South Esk River. A review into the June 2016 flood (released in June 2017), identified some important gaps in local response capability including the capacity of emergency resources and interoperability of support agencies. A number of impacts resonated that are also consistent globally: ●● ●● ●●

they are multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional events. they are haz-mat and public health events. they are long term events that exhaust emergency personnel and the community emotionally, mentally and physically.

In its support role, SLST wanted to investigate what it didn’t know and explore interoperable and multi-agency response models from around Australia and the world. SLST worked with SES in South Australia and assessed the models that were put in place following the Comrie Report in Victoria. SLST explored what other International Lifesaving organisations were doing in the flood response area and with significant flooding events in the UK, they visited Surf Life Saving GB to see their interoperable multi agency model and training. This led to SLST members participating in the Master Class Flood Rescue Program with the Charlotte Fire

Department, who have played a major role in flood rescue following significant hurricane events and supported SLSGB develop their response model. To share the knowledge and experience of Flood resacue teams in the UK, EU and USA, SLST ran a Flood Rescue symposium with experts in flood response, interoperable models, the use of technology and diverse case studies. This included presenters from Emergency Services within Australia and a small team of international guests led by Mr Jeff Dulin-Assistant Director of International Association of Fire Chiefs including Deputy Fire Chief of Charlotte Fire Department, Rich Granger, and Mr Roy Haroldretired Chief Fire Officer and UK and EU Adviser; all three men are pre-eminent speakers in their fields. Emergency Services from the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania attended the symposium. The symposium was an excellent opportunity for discussions between managerial and strategic level delegates with regard to the principles of an all risks, all hazards incident management, interoperability, the management of national assets and resources and providing assistance during threat driven responses. A three-day tactical workshop was included for participant awareness and professional development. It covered risk and tactical management, hazard perceptions, hydrology, training standards, water and flood rescue personal protective equipment and casualty care. In addition, there was as experiential learning opportunity for Flood Rescue Boat Response Capability. The workshop allowed the group to assess support agency capacity and how they can best support an interoperable model. Moving forward, Surf Life Saving will continue to explore how to best respond in flood water emergencies, including the training of members and standardisation of flood rescue equipment.

SLS T training for flood rescue




he best kept secret for everyday mobility and pain management and a trainer’s dream to elevate it in Australia, from surf to office.

My personal Foundation Training story started a year ago, when I read a quote by Chris Hemsworth noting he suffered from a back injury and then started Foundation Training which made him feel stronger than ever. I thought, “he seems like a fit guy” and given the numerous injuries I have myself (lower back, knee and ankle) it definitely resonated with me. I dug deeper and started reading about the training, what it is and the testimonials–all positive! My interest was sparked so I took it to the next level and connected with a certified instructor based out of Maroubra, Sydney, named John Gannon. A quick Google search on John revealed an impressive background in the fitness/health training world with global credibility. From participating in Iron Man competitions, to lifeguarding, to personal coaching and training pro surfer Taj Burrow (none of which John will ever boast about) John has a wealth of experience, so it really says something when a guy like that wholeheartedly supports a program. John notes about his discovery of Foundation Training, “Working as a trainer for pro surfer Taj Burrow’s for eight years, I had to help

WHAT IS FOUNDATION TRAINING? Foundation Training was created by Dr Eric Goodman, a chiropractor from the USA He developed the program as a means to tackle his own lower back ailments and to avoid surgery. It has since evolved into so much more. Foundation Training is a series of highly developed exercises that integrates muscle chains to alleviate back pain, improve posture and enhance athletic ability. Many people around the world, of all ages and occupations (surfers to bankers), have been incorporating Foundation Training into their everyday routine or as an accompaniment to their own fitness programs.

Taj with his increasing chronic lower back and hip pain (a common occurrence among surfers). Travelling around the world on the pro surfing circuit, we went to all sorts of practitioners and back specialists. A number of those practitioners helped for a short duration but nothing actually alleviated the pain. One time in California we came across a health practitioner, named Eric Goodman, who introduced Taj and me to Foundation Training, Australian Lifeguard Magazine 39


If you ever talk to John about Foundation Training, it’s easy to see his passion for it and his dream to spread the word. Like most others, I found out about the training reactively, after an injury; however, the true value in Foundation Training is as a proactive (preventive) program. John, along with another Sydney-based certified instructor, Mary-Jane (MJ) Yates, have been holding regular classes on Clovelly Beach and Maroubra Beach for the community but have now established a new platform, POSTURE STRONG, to elevate Foundation Training to the corporate world.

John training Roberto at Bondi Beach

and it was like a light bulb moment! After the first session of Foundation Training with Eric, Taj felt a wave of relief throughout his entire body and after two weeks of the training Taj was competing on the pro tour with no back or hip pain and felt more connected with his body. From this point on I realised that I needed to learn, study and teach this technique not only for Taj and myself but I honestly thought that this is the career I wanted to be involved in.” After an initial email exchange and phone call, I met John for the first time at one of his gyms. He shook my hand and said, “You look like a Roberto” with a chuckle. Straight away you notice John’s laid-back and professional demeanour, which puts you at ease. We chatted about my specific injuries and fitness goals, and he was able to identify other issues I didn’t even know I had regarding my posture. Posture, as I was soon to learn, is a major factor in everyday health. It was my first Foundation Training session with John (of many) and I felt stronger right after. One year later and I’m able to do so many more activities than when I first started, and I’m still learning about the training and its many facets (e.g., decompressive breathing, hinging, anchoring). 40 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

“POSTURE STRONG is a platform designed to make Foundation Training more accessible to people in the workplace, in the corporate domain, first responders, sports clubs and athletes,” describes MJ. “POSTURE STRONG offers classes with ongoing training videos so that participants can practise the movements at their leisure. It is imperative to retrain the body in how it is supposed to move and the videos can guide and give cues so that the participants can get the full benefits of the training.” In addition to all that’s mentioned, John is a dedicated family man, community member and lifeguard for Randwick Council

Morning group class at Clovelly beach


(previously a Surf Life Saving Australia volunteer). He has been instrumental in introducing Foundation Training to the surf world. He incorporates the training into the many other forms of fitness training that he conducts such as HIIT, Ocean Gladiators and now POSTURE STRONG. John has also been actively introducing Foundation Training into the lifeguarding community. “I do 10 to 20 mins a day of Foundation Training myself and then incorporate the movements into my everyday life, whether it is lifting up the kids or dragging a heavy rescue watercraft up the beach after a day’s lifeguarding. The thing with lifeguarding is you are sitting down watching the ocean and then when it’s time to act on a rescue its zero to one hundred, which can cause problems. From the awareness of Foundation Training, every movement from getting up out of the chair to doing a rescue is performed using good posture with a braced spine, which leads to fewer injuries and stronger lifting positions” says John about the role of Foundation Training in lifeguarding. “I recently put Randwick Council lifeguards through a Foundation Training session with the lifeguards now telling each other to ‘hinge at the hips’ when lifting something heavy, which I think is great.” Like yoga or Pilates, there does seem to be a community and culture forming around Foundation Training. It’s something you want to share because you know it can help most people. After each group class there is no shortage of talk about their instant pain relief or just how much better they feel in general. John concludes, “The best part is when I’ve seen my clients teaching friends and family members how to do a ‘Founder’ pose. It’s so good to see that they have taken themselves out of pain and are telling other people how to do the Foundation Training movements. I’m looking forward to teaching as many people from all walks of life about Foundation Training, through POSTURE STRONG or other classes, and giving them the techniques to create a good strong posture. I’m yet to meet someone with good posture that is in pain or suffers from chronic injuries.”

MJ tending to the group class

“Foundation Training is a simple solution that gives you the means to change the way you move and correct the imbalance caused by our modern habits through a series of postures, poses and movements. Foundation Training activates your posterior muscle chain, anchors the hips, decompresses the spine and teaches you to take the burden of supporting the body out of your joints and puts it where it belongs in your muscles. Essentially, Foundation Training is a rewiring of the poor patterns ingrained in our body from modern lifestyles that can cause pain, deterioration and inefficiency.” – Foundation Training

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 41




he following are some example poses, from a base pose (the Founder) to a more advanced pose (the Windmill). Depending on the level of pain or fitness you are in, start light and progressively work at the poses. Working with a certified trainer at the start is always recommended for proper technique and program customisation.

THE FOUNDER The basis of all Foundation Training movements. It teaches the body to integrate the posterior chain muscle groups, stability of the spine and how to strengthen the hips. It strengthens the deepest muscles in your spine, which hold your spine in extension. ■■Stand with your outside feet lines in parallel, shoulder-width apart (or wider). Bend the knees slightly keeping the weight back in the heels. Grip your toes to the ground and tension your heels towards each other to create an anchor for the pelvis. Extend the spine by hinging from the hips. Start by opening the arms, expanding the chest, keeping the knees above or behind the ankles and pushing the hips away. Then scoop the arms forward and up while hinging the hips further back. Once counterbalance is found between hips and arms, hold the pose for 3–5 big breaths, tensioning the belly on the out breath. 42 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

The Founder


Lunge stance

LUNGE STANCE This position will help lengthen through the front of the body (hip flexors) and help with balance. ■■Take one leg forward, with knee slightly bent but making sure the knee is above or behind the ankle. The other leg is up on the toes with heel off the ground. Take the arms out to the side opening up the chest, turning your thumbs away with flat palms and spread fingers. Breathe deeply and bring the arms in front and straight up so the biceps are just in front of the head. Extend the spine from the hips, relaxing the shoulders somewhat and push the fingertips together with pressure. Take 3–5 big breaths, tensioning the belly on the out breath. Repeat with the other leg forward.

THE WINDMILL This big ‘bang-for-your-buck’ position will stretch your hamstrings and adductors, increase range of motion in your trunk, and improve hip mobility. It creates a deep, active stretch at the upper adductor muscles (the inner thighs), which are a strong anchor for the pelvis. They pull hard and can significantly affect your lower spine movement when tight. If you spend a lot of time sitting, this exercise is a perfect antidote to correct a number of muscles and open up the chest. ■■Start with a wide leg stance. Slightly bend the knee with hips pushed back and weight in the heels. Bring both arms in front (like a Founder) into a strong position. Hinge down, pivoting at the hips, taking both hands to the ground between the feet. Make sure the shoulders are back and the back of the torso is flat with slight bent knees. Rotate one arm as high as you can, pulling through the elbow first and then unfolding the arm, making sure the pelvis is square. Take 3–5 deep breaths, tensioning the belly on the out breath. Bring the arm back to centre and repeat with the other arm.

The Windmill Australian Lifeguard Magazine 43




n Issue 12 (Summer 2017), Lifeguard looked at the diverse shark management strategies underway through the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). This included $16 million for trialling new and emerging technologies to improve shark surveillance, detection and deterrents–as well as funding research, education opportunities and community awareness.

Lifeguard is now looking at the mitigations one council is undertaking alongside the DPI strategies, including the longstanding, sometimes controversial, meshing program. This initiative is designed to reduce the chances of dangerous sharks aggregating near meshed beaches, thereby reducing the chances of a shark interaction. Jason Foye, Beach Services Coordinator at Wollongong City Council (WCC) Lifeguard Service identified service gaps in aerial observation. WCC undertook a competitive tender process to provide flexible aerial observation for the period September to April. Many providers tendered, with Touchdown Helicopters chosen as the preferred supplier for the 2017-18 season. The trial, funded by WCC, will see Touchdown Helicopters provide observations on both a reaction basis and to further extend the DPI funded trial while providing additional daily patrols. When the DPI service is not flying, it will service the Wollongong coastline from Stanwell Park to Windang. WCC has also engaged Hover UAV to provide Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to complement the aerial observations provided by Touchdown Helicopters. Research was conducted into similar projects to understand the risk to council around regulations from CASA and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act). Hover UAV have undertaken trials with the DPI on the Far North Coast of NSW and were suited for this purpose. The Hover UAV trial is for the 2017-18 season. The RPA will be in the air within one hour to assist lifeguards in confirming the presence of a shark. The service will be delivered in line with the expectations of the DPI trials and within CASA regulations.

44 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

shark shield WCC jet ski with shark shield

WCC is also undertaking a trial of Shark Shield products, which are predominately used on surf craft. The main aim of the trial is to test the robustness of the stainless-steel electrodes as the jet ski is beached over the season. Initially it will be trialled on jet skis located at the popular Port Kembla and North Wollongong beaches, and if successful, the product will be rolled out across the entire fleet of WCC jet skis. “This is a really exciting time for our Wollongong City Council’s Lifeguard Service as Jason and his team are exploring a wide range of technologies to improve shark surveillance, detection and deterrence on our beaches,’’ Wollongong City Council’s Recreation Services Manager Mark Bond said. “The development of new technology not only provides us with additional support for our staff in their observation and interaction, but also addresses community awareness and sensitivities around potential shark activity on our 17 patrolled beaches.’’ WCC is continuing to deliver work with the DPI and other lifeguard service providers on a common shark strategy.

Patrolling at the lake


But Lifeguards are Making a Difference


hey might be standing guard over 40 km inland from the nearest beach, but for the lifeguards who are charged with standing watch over Lake Parramatta, safety and vigilance is never taken for granted.

ALS lifeguards Phillip Brent (left) and Dominic Richard (right)

Since 2015 when the lake once more became accessible after many decades the ALS has been providing Lifeguards to Parramatta Council. The body of water situated right in the heart of the second busiest CBD in Sydney is proving to be a popular refuge for people hoping to avoid the worst of the summer heat with the 2016-17 season proving to be the busiest yet. Almost 40,000 visitors were clocked during the contract period with lifeguards kept on their toes by performing 98 significant rescues, 325 first aid treatments and over 6,500 preventative actions. Lifeguard Operations Manager Oliver Munson said it was a successful summer for the lifeguards who put their training to use in what is a very different environment. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While working at Lake Parramatta presents its own set of unique challenges the fundamental principles of lifeguarding remain the same. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The ALS is delighted to be able to work with council to deliver this service to both visitors and locals alike and in turn ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience in the water,â&#x20AC;? said Mr Munson. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 45



Popular beaches, such as Caloundra (pictured) on the Sunshine Coast, are driving tourism expenditure



he Australian Coastal Society (ACS–australiancoastalsociety.org) is a national volunteer organisation that formed in 2008 to contribute to international, national, state and local discussions on coastal issues. The mission of ACS is to be ‘A voice for the Australian Coast dedicated to healthy ecosystems, vibrant communities and sustainable use of resources’.

Ultimately, the ACS wants to improve understanding of the environmental, economic, social and cultural values of the Australian coast, to make sure that decisions that affect the coast are based on the best available knowledge and experience. The membership of ACS includes coastal scientists, geologists, ecologists, economists, social scientists, planners, lawyers and engineers. Perhaps more importantly, it also includes swimmers, boaties, sailors, surfers, ski paddlers, divers, fishers, parents and grandparents. ACS members are united by their love the coast, and they certainly aren’t alone. Residents and tourists alike are drawn to the Australian coast. Around half of residential addresses in Australia are located within 7 km of the coastline, while more than 80% of Australian residents live within 3 km of an estuary. The most popular beaches in Australia, such as Bondi and Manly beaches in Sydney, receive over one million visits a year, just from international tourists. That is more visitors than some small countries, and highlights just how important it is to ensure that coastal regions are managed effectively, both now and into the future. One of the most important pieces of information for managing coastal regions is a good understanding of just how many people use the coast. This is important for lifeguard services, to make sure they have the right number of personnel for daily operations. But it is also useful to councils and governments that are making decisions about expenditure on infrastructure like how many beach car parks to provide, or whether to allow construction of a seawall that may have environmental impacts or restrict access along a beach. These decisions require a good understanding of how many people use coastal areas, and what they do when they are there.

46 Australian Lifeguard Magazine

Unfortunately, this information is difficult to collect. Beaches in Australia, thankfully, are almost all public assets. There are no turnstiles or ticket counters, and public access to beaches is a right protected by legislation. And with over 10,000 beaches in Australia, there is a lot of ground to cover. Often this means that the best source of information about beach visitation, and even the beaches themselves, comes from the people who spend the most time there: volunteer lifesavers and professional lifeguards. The Beach and Surf Tourism and Recreation in Australia: Vulnerability and Adaptation (BASTRA) project used SLSA BeachSafe data and head counts to explore how many people used the coast, and how residents and tourist chose which beach to visit in four popular beachside locations: Augusta-Margaret River (WA), Sunshine Coast (Qld), Clarence Valley (NSW) and the Surf Coast (Vic). By combining resident and beach user surveys and tourism expenditure data, the BASTRA project estimated that tourism expenditure that was specifically related to beach and surf recreation was in the order of: $270 million annually for the Sunshine Coast, $32 million per annum for Clarence Valley, $107 million for the Surf Coast and $25 million for the Augusta-Margaret River region. The BASTRA project found that the availability of lifeguard services was a critical factor in beach choice for up to a quarter of respondents. Tourists are more likely to visit a beach location where they feel comfortable in the water, and hence lifeguard services were cited as potential improvements to the existing beach-tourist experience. Like SLSA, the Australian Coastal Society operates on a volunteer basis and so can only act as a voice for the Australian coast with the generous support of its members and donors. We look forward to contributing more articles to Australian Lifeguard Magazine in support of this goal. In the meantime catch up on the latest coastal news from around the nation at australiancoastalsociety.org




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Australian Lifeguard Magazine 2018  

Summer 2018

Australian Lifeguard Magazine 2018  

Summer 2018

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