a pair maui jim s sunnie
WHITTAKER SUIT AND SURFBOARD: THE SHIRE'S WATERMAN
In this issue R U OK?
SLSA 2013 NATIONAL COASTAL SAFETY REPORT POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH TABOOS
CHANGING OF THE GUARD ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
DARREN O'Rafferty PRO SURFER
Issue 09 SUMMER 2014 sls.com.au/publications
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2 lifeguard magazine
Cover Brad Whittaker is the Sutherland Shire’s beach operations manager, but there’s more to his role than simply managing the lifeguard service. Meet Brad on page 6 and learn how he’s setting the benchmark for integrated service management in the lifesaving industry. Photo Andre Slade.
6 Suit and Surfboard: The Shire's Waterman 8 Surfing NSW's Surfers Rescue 24/7 Wins Water Safety Award 9 Case Study: Analysis of Non-powered Watercraft Incidents, 2004-13 10 Surf Life Saving Extends Lifeguard Services to Southport and Tallebudgera 11 Gold Coast Lifeguards Get Onboard with Careflight 12 NSW Council Lifeguard Services Join Growing Communication Network 14 New Safety Measures 15 Saving Lives Off The Beach 16 Lifesaving IT 18 Sunshine Coast Changing Of The Guard 20 5 Minutes with Darren O'Rafferty 22 Inflight Surf Safety Messages 23 New Cert II Manual Includes Lifeguards 24 Surfing Online Helps Kids Become Surf Heroes 26 Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide 28 The Australian Disaster Forum 29 Case Study: Rocky Coast Drowning Deaths 2004-13 30 Education & Training News 31 Case Study: Age Comparison 5569 Years Vs. 20-34 Years 32 A Journey Beyond The Breakers: Rob's Rip Research Review 35 Research News 36 The Dark and the Light of Bondi 38 Post-Traumatic Stress: It's OK to be Feeling that Way 40 Sea-Doo: Maintain The Spark Away From Work 41 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 42 Case Study: Contributing Factors to Swimming and Wading Coastal Drowning Deaths 43 Preventing Lifeguard Injuries 44 Get into Gear 46 Awards of Excellence 48 Rescue of the Month 49 Case Study: Boating-related Coastal Drowning Deaths, 2004-2013 50 My Story: Peter Geal 52 Saving Lives in Asia & the Pacific 54 Repackaging the Sri Lankan Coast 55 SLSA Capacity and Capability Portfolio 56 Lifeguard Snippets
Publisher Surf Life Saving Australia, Locked Bag 1010, Rosebery NSW 2018, (02) 9215 8000 Editor Andre Slade - Andre Slade Enterprises Contributors Sarah Anderson, Jason Bradley, Anthony Bradstreet, Rob Brander, Andy Crow, Gary Daly, Alen Delic, Norm Farmer, Peter Geal, Sarah Homewood, Michael Kenny, Darren O’Rafferty, SLSA, SLSNT, SLSNSW, SLSQ, SLSWA, Surfing NSW, Brad Whittaker. Image Credits Jason Bradley, Rob Brander, Barbara Brighton, BRP, Careflight, Anthony Carroll, Norm Farmer, Peter Geal, Michael Kenny, The Meta Picture.com <http://Picture.com> , Darren O’Rafferty, Shutterstock, Andre Slade, SLSA, SLSNSW, SLSNT SLSQ, Surfing NSW, Liam Taylor, John Veage, Brad Whittaker. Our best endeavours have been made to credit the owners of the photos. Design Virginia Batstone and Tom Parsons SLSA Advertising Andre Slade email@example.com lifeguard magazine 3
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4 lifeguard magazine
Welcome to the ninth issue of the Australian Lifeguard Magazine! From its inception this magazine has been bringing together and showcasing the wonderful talents of the greatest lifeguards in the world and I’m proud to be a part of it. Let's start with something likely to be the monkey in the room, it’s arguably the biggest talking point within the industry over the past year, and it’s the growing interest by local councils to outsource their lifeguard services.
Councils throughout Australia are faced with a tight economic environment and their communities are telling them they need to focus on roads, rubbish and lowering their rates. This is resulting in councils talking to Surf Life Saving and other lifeguard providers about how they can reduce costs but continue to maintain the high level of service their lifeguards are currently providing. When a council lifeguard service has been doing their job well it would be a tough thing to be told they’re losing their well-established identity, but if you look at the example of the recent changes in the Sunshine Coast (page 18) you’ll quickly realise that with a change in name can come a large investment in resources and training and raft of opportunities for lifeguards. Whilst our services, equipment and lifeguard skills have never been better, we are still seeing record numbers of people drown on our beaches. According to SLSA 2013 National Coastal Safety Report (please see liftout) drownings on Australian beaches have reached the highest in nine years. This is a frank reminder that there’s still a lot more to do to reach our industry goal of a 50% reduction in drowning by 2020. Throughout your lifeguard career there’s every chance you’ll experience a traumatic incident; be it a drowning, a gruesome injury or something a lot more personal. No one enjoys this part of the job and everyone deals with these incidents differently, but we all need to know that it’s perfectly ok to be affected and there is support available inside and outside of the industry. The feature article on page 38 provides loads of advice for helping you deal with your own PTSD or depression, or to help others who may be suffering. The article includes a chat with Waverley Council lifeguard Jessie Polock who, along with Maxi Maxwell, traveled by jetski from Sydney to Cairns to raise awareness of depression and in doing so raised over $100,000 for the cause – top effort guys. Finally, behind every lifeguard saving lives is a strong leader and in this issue we’re delighted to feature a profile on Brad Whittaker, the Sutherland Shire’s beach services manager. Brad graces our cover and his story is on page 6.
THAT'S HOW I SEE IT Turn your phone off By Andre Slade
I’m a tech freak. I own every piece of the latest technology you can think of. I even read technology blogs, sheesh. There’s no way I can go without my iPhone. I’ve tried, it’s like losing a loved one. I know how attached you can be to your mobile phone. It’s not really a phone anymore, it’s your life in your pocket. With it you’re connected, without you’re missing out. FOMO. While I get that it’s hard to be disconnected from the online world, I completely draw the line at the use of mobile phones while on lifeguard duty. For me it’s a no-brainer. There should be No mobile phones on duty. Full stop. Capital letter. When I was a lifeguard supervisor it was before mobile phones became popular (I know, how did we cope!). But we still had distractions. Lifeguards would want to read newspapers and surf magazines, bring a book to work or gossip with their friends. It doesn’t matter what the distraction, there’s no place for it while on duty. A drowning can happen in seconds. It’s quiet. One moment they’re OK, the next they’re not. Incidents escalate quickly. Can you really afford to be on your phone when there’s someone in need of assistance? Could you live with yourself if you missed a drowning victim because you were updating your facebook status or watching the latest cat video? On top of the chances of missing an incident, there’s also the professionalism that you’re neglecting. I used to remind my lifeguards daily that they are continually under watch from parents on the beach. “Little Johnny, swim between the flags, look up there, can you see the lifeguard watching you?” Hmmm he’s on his phone. Not a good look. Next time you’re on duty, turn your phone off and leave it in your bag. If you need to check it, do it on your break. Do it away from the beach. If you’re having your break on the beach, take your lifeguard shirt off. When you’re on you’re on. When you’re off, you can use your phone. If your lifeguard service hasn’t yet got a strict mobile phone policy that outlaws their use on duty then I have a good idea they will soon. As for my temptation? I don’t have to worry when I’m volunteer patrolling at Burning Palms. Our club is so far off the radar in the Royal National Park I can’t even get reception. Problem solved.
There’s plenty of stuff to get your teeth into, so enjoy the read and keep up the awesome work! Andre P.S. Don’t forget to enter the competition to win the Maui Jim sunnies!
Contribute to the magazine
The Australian Lifeguard Magazine welcomes your contributions; in fact we want to hear from you! If you would like to contribute an article, send a letter to the editor or supply a photo (or anything else you can think of) please contact the Editor: The Editor
Australian Lifeguard Magazine, Locked Bag 1010, Rosebery, NSW 2018 firstname.lastname@example.org Please ensure photos are of a high quality and file size. All care will be taken, however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for material submitted, the accuracy of information in the text, illustrations or advertisements contained therein. The content of Australian Lifeguard Magazine is copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. Articles reflect the personal opinion of the authors and are not necessarily those of the publisher. © Copyright 2014 Surf Life Saving Australia
lifeguard magazine 5
PROFILE BRAD WHITTAKER
Lifesaving Chaplaincy: Life Saving Chaplaincy Australia serves through pastoral care and social and emotional comfort for all lifesavers & lifeguards whether on patrol, at events or in your personal time. Chaplain’s are trained volunteers who have completed a Level 2 Certificate in Sports Chaplaincy and provide support for: • Rescue and patrol activities • Grief and loss • Trauma • Sickness
• Ethical questions • Club issues • Home and personal issues
For more information visit: lifesavingchaplaincy.com facebook.com/LifeSavingChaplaincy
Suit and surfboard: The Shire's water man BRAD WHITTAKER
A regular day starts with a short drive to work and a check of the surf, but from then on, it can get hectic. “A lot of people would say I have the dream job, but it does come with significant challenges,” Whittaker says. “You’re dealing with people’s lives and there’s a diverse range of people who use the beach for recreation, events and business. “There’s so many different stakeholders and they all have a view of how council should manage the beach spaces.”
By Alen Delic
His association with the beach goes back almost a quarter of a century when he first picked up surfing. Whittaker was never a member of a surf club, nor did his parents actively encourage him to surf.
s the Sutherland Shire’s beach operations manager Brad Whittaker doesn’t actually wear a suit, but suit or not he’s lifeguarding’s super waterman managing one of Sydney’s most indemand beaches.
In his early teen years, he’d catch the train down to Cronulla and practice to surf by himself.
Brad Whittaker is shy about his past life as a surfer.
“At 20, I was called a grommet,” Whittaker says. “All the guys who surfed longboards at that time in Cronulla were in their 40s!
The Sutherland Shire beach operations manager was once a high-level amateur surfer competing in events around the world, from Australia to Tahiti. “I don’t wanna talk it up,” Whittaker says. “My daughter is a far more accomplished surfer at her age (15) than I ever was.” But these days, he’s traded in the surfboard competitions for a clipboard, working as the Sutherland Shire beach operations manager.
By his own admission, he was a late bloomer. He only began competing in amateur surf contests in his university years.
It showed people didn’t need to sacrifice their own values or beliefs and raised respect for the mix of culture’s that wanted to use the beach.
He is in charge of managing lifeguards across 8km of beachfront in the Shire, working with four Surf Life Saving clubs, as well as looking after surfing and surf lifesaving events, looking after sponsorships, managing various beach activities, and even looking after more than 120 sporting fields, 13 tennis courts and three golf courses. 6 lifeguard magazine
Eventually, he joined a local boardrider club, of which he even served as president.
“For that reason, I reckon my surfing style developed a retro feel.” He went on to university to study teaching, and became a sport and PE teacher, but never put the board in the rafters, instead developing an even greater passion for the ocean. With that background in teaching, and a supportive team of lifeguards, Whittaker has looked to continue the Sutherland Shire Council’s proud history of surf education.
He has been in charge of and pioneered a number of programs, most recently Surf Hero [turn to page 24 to read about the initiative]. There are a number of programs that he’s immensely proud of, but one that sticks out followed the 2005 racial problem in Cronulla.
BRAD WHITTAKER PROFILE
Council worked with the Federal Government and Surf Life Saving Australia to develop a project called "On the Same Wave", which aimed to unite cultures based on their love of the beach.
“A lot of the younger guys and girls coming through might just be by themselves; it can be pretty isolating.
“That was really positive,” he says.
“The chaplaincy program exists to proactively show care and support and is in place in many professional sports now.”
“It showed people didn’t need to sacrifice their own values or beliefs and raised respect for the mix of culture’s that wanted to use the beach.”
Whittaker’s wide background in surfing, education and sports management has helped him achieve in his various community roles.
That project was a baptism by fire for Whittaker, who took up the gig in the same year.
“Working for council has helped me develop positive working relationships with so many people that are passionate about surfing and surf lifesaving,” he says.
The chaplaincy program exists to proactively show care and support. Since then, he has assisted council and the local community to develop women’s, juniors', and masters' surf events, ran traineeship programs with surf clubs, and so much more. “We aim to do our best for the community through the activities and programs we run,” Whittaker says.
“There are a lot of people who use the beach, and having a broad knowledge of all those beach users, and understanding their love of the beach, is very important for someone working in a role like mine.”
“Whether that’s in innovation or beach culture, we work with all the stakeholders representing our surf community.” Currently, Brad’s team is working with all-terrain vehicle and personal water craft distributor BRP to customize the equipment for lifeguard functions. BRP is looking to modify outboard engines so they can be used in lifeguarding. Despite his heavy workload, he’s also found time to give back to the surfing community. One organisation he worked with, Christian Surfers International, was approached to develop a chaplaincy program for the ASP (The Association of Surfing Professionals). Whittaker put his hand up for the task. He took leave without pay from Sutherland Shire Council, and spent four years helping develop the program. “It was a great project,” he says. “The chaplain is there to provide whatever support is required, whether it’s being someone’s caddy, driving them to the airport or just talking to them if they need a chat.
Christian Surfers is about surfers reaching surfers, using their surfing. This also includes all associated people in the surfing community. They are an outreach mission more than a fellowship group for Christians who surf.
Christian Surfers is a Christian presence and witness in the surf community. It’s about surfers reaching surfers, using their surfing. The movement bridges the gap between the beach and the local churches, it helps others through charity events and cross-cultural mission projects and offers a chaplaincy service in times of need. There are 40+ "missions" around Australia and even more around the world. For more information visit: Christian Surfers International christiansurfers.net Christian Surfers Australia christiansurfers.org.au
lifeguard magazine 7
LIFESAVING Surfers Rescue 24/7
Surfing NSW's Surfers Rescue 24/7 wins NSW water safety award
urfing NSW's initiative Surfers Rescue 24/7 won the Community Education Program of the Year at the NSW Water Safety Awards in conjunction with the AUSTSWIM NSW Awards of Excellence in Sydney.
Surfers Rescue 24/7 is a free CPR and board rescue course for recreational surfers in NSW. It provides crucial training to assist in an ocean emergency situation and ultimately save a life. Since November 2012 more than 2000 recreational surfers have completed the course across NSW. The Surfers Rescue 24/7 initiative to educate surfers in lifesaving techniques was sparked by a need to cover the gap between patrolled beaches and remote beaches in an effort to reduce deaths from drowning in NSW.
IT PROVIDES CRUCIAL TRAINING TO ASSIST IN AN OCEAN EMERGENCY SITUATION AND ULTIMATELY SAVE A LIFE. Surfing NSW CEO Mark Windon said: “We have been blown away by the demand and support for this program. “The three-hour course is free and tailored to surfers who will use their surfboard as the rescue tool. The course is substantially quicker and cheaper than any other rescue qualification in the market and means more locations are now patrolled in an unofficial capacity.” Surf Life Saving NSW is proud to be partnering with Surfing NSW to deliver the CPR component of the course. Eleven time World Surfing Champion, Kelly Slater, is a big supporter of the initiative. “Congratulations…on the implementation of the Surfers Rescue 24/7 Course. Recognising the enormous contribution that recreational surfers make to water safety on a daily basis in NSW is a great message to send to our group and its importance in protecting the larger community,” said Slater. In conjunction with pro surfers who are currently working as lifeguards, Surfing NSW has identified board rescue techniques that are unique to the sport of surfing. Board rescue techniques make up one segment of the course while the other puts surfers through a nationally accredited CPR course run by Surf Life Saving NSW trainers. On completion of the course, participants receive a nationally recognised certificate. Surfing NSW are encouraging recreational surfers of all levels to go to surfersrescue247.com and register for the course. Surfers are also being encouraged to report their rescue efforts to help compile data on "out of season" and non-patrolled beaches throughout NSW.
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Analysis of Non-Powered Watercraft Incidents, 2004-13
his year there were 14 coastal drowning deaths related the use of watercraft. SLSA defines watercraft activity as using an item of non-powered recreational equipment in the water. Examples include surfboards, body boards, kayaks or surf skis. Watercraft incidents are the fourth leading cause (11.6%) of Australian coastal drowning deaths in 2012-13. This is the fifth consecutive year that the rate of watercraft related drowning deaths has increased. The 2012-13 rate is 0.06 per 100,000 population, double the nine-year average rate of 0.03 per 100,000 population. The most common type of watercraft implicated during coastal drowning death incidents over the last nine years are surfboards (n=35, 50.7%). There are often other contributing factors associated with these incidents such as being caught in a rip current or the occurrence of a medical condition or injury. This analysis highlights the importance of strategic interventions to engage surfers such as the Surfers Rescue 24/7 education project in NSW and the Big Wave Surfing Safety Training Program in Tasmania. 16
2.9% 4.3% 1.4% 4.3%
6 4 2 0
20.3% 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13
Non-powered watercraft related coastal drowning in Australia, 2004-2013
Surfboard Bodyboard Kayak Surf Ski Canoe Kite Surfer Inflatable Craft Paddle Board
Water craft type involved in coastal drowning deaths in Australia from 2004-2013 (n=69) Source: SLSA 2013 National Coastal Safety Report
LIFESAVING SLSQ Extends Services
Surf Life Saving extends lifeguard services to Southport and Tallebudgera
urf Life Saving Queensland’s Brisbane Life Saving Service and Australian Lifeguard Service have joined forces with Neptune Royal Life Saving Society Club in providing patrol and rescue services at Tallebudgera Creek for the 2013-14 patrol season.
The rescue services, funded by SLSQ, are part of an initial 12-month trial in partnership with the Queensland Government and Gold Coast City Council, with further discussions at the end of the trial on whether to continue the patrols. The decision will be made based on the statistics and feedback gathered during the trial. SLSQ Chief Operations Manager George Hill said Tallebudgera Creek was a great recreational area for swimming and picnics, but had been identified as a black spot that required extended patrolling.
• ALS lifeguards cover the Tallebudgera Creek mouth, patrolling during the week from 8am to 5pm. • The service started on 23 September 2013 and will run through to 25 April 2014. • BLS will cover patrols on the weekends and public holidays when the Neptune Royal Life Saving Society Club are not patrolling. • Hours can be extended from 7.30am to 6.30pm for the ALS lifeguards during the summer school holiday period from 14 December 2013 to 27 January 2014. 10 lifeguard magazine
“Neptune Royal Life Saving Society Club is looking forward to extending the coverage of this popular swimming and recreational area with Surf Life Saving Queensland’s ALS Lifeguards and Brisbane Life Saving Service,” Mr Newman said. “Increasing the patrol coverage will be an added safety boon for our community and visitors to ARE the area, in and out of the water.”
PEOPLE UNAWARE OF THE DANGERS, PARTICULARLY THE STRONG OUTGOING AND INCOMING TIDAL CURRENT.
“It’s also very popular with families and visitors, but there was one fatality during the 2012/13 patrol season and a number of rescues from Tallebudgera Creek including five near drownings of a family because people are unaware of the dangers, particularly the strong outgoing and incoming tidal current,” Mr Hill said.
How the service operates
Neptune Royal Life Saving Society Club President, Clive Newman said Tallebudgera Creek can change quickly with the change of the tide and people are unaware of the danger unless there are on-duty lifesavers or lifeguards to let them know whether it's safe to go in the water.
From 1999 to 2013, there were a total of four drownings making Tallebudgera Creek one of the top five highest drowning black spots in Queensland and the third highest on the Gold Coast with Surfers Paradise and Kurrawa the top two drowning black spots. State Member for Burleigh Michael Hart MP is in full support of the extended patrols.
“We need to make sure our community and visitors are safe swimming in these popular recreation areas not only on the weekends, but also during the week,” Mr Hart said.
Lifeguards Aboard CareflighT LIFESAVING
Gold Coast lifeguards get onboard with Careflight
n a new initiative starting this summer that follows on from a similar initiative with Sunshine Coast lifeguards and the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service, Gold Coast City Council lifeguards will be on board the RACQ CareFlight Rescue chopper to provide their expert skills during water search and rescue operations, water winches and offshore ocean rescues. GCCC Chief Lifeguard Warren Young said the initiative by Mayor Tom Tate and CareFlight for council lifeguards to be trained for specialist work in offshore ocean rescue from the CareFlight helicopter is welcomed by lifeguard staff. “CareFlight has an impeccable safety record and is regarded as the benchmark in medical retrieval in Queensland. The unique water skills possessed by lifeguards will support the flight paramedics in the provision of medical treatment," he said. CareFlight Group Queensland CEO Ashley van de Velde said training lifeguards for challenging water rescues allows flight paramedics to concentrate on providing the highest level of medical treatment possible, “CareFlight is delighted to include the specialist skills of Gold Coast lifeguards, who I consider among the best in the world,” he said.
“CareFlight and the Gold Coast City Council have worked together to reintroduce lifeguards on ocean and water missions with the support of the Queensland Ambulance Service. “This model benefits the patients and provides the best medical care possible.” RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s helicopters are often tasked to critical rescue missions up to 100 nautical miles out to sea.
CAREFLIGHT HAS AN IMPECCABLE SAFETY RECORD AND IS REGARDED AS THE BENCHMARK IN MEDICAL RETRIEVAL IN QLD. Water-winching in these locations is one of the most difficult exercises crews undertake and includes searching for missing fisherman, winching sick people from cruise ships and saving people from stricken vessels. New recruits Scott Wilson, Michael Chan, Luke Ingwersen and Rod Clayfield-Hoskin had to undergo intensive training, including overland winching, helicopter underwater escape exercises and theory. lifeguard magazine 11
LIFESAVING NSW COUNCIL LIFEGUARD SERVICES
NSW council lifeguard services join growing communication network
SW council lifeguard services join growing communication network. Warringah, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Wollongong and Kiama councils have linked up with Surf Life Saving’s state communication network in NSW and it is already benefiting beachgoers, says Andy Crow, SLSNSW’s Duty Operations Coordinator.
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NSW COUNCIL LIFEGUARD SERVICES LIFESAVING
Our aim is to provide quality communication support to lifesaving and lifeguard services, no matter who they’re run by.
There’s been a lot of work on improving the communications network in NSW, how is this going?
In early 2013, we went through a thorough review of the state’s communication network. The review has given us the backbone for a three-year strategy to upgrade equipment and improve the effectiveness of the network. We have already installed new repeaters and translators at Tweed Heads, Snapper Point, Coalcliff, Mollymook, Malua Bay and Tathra. These are new sites and will provide coverage to black spots in NSW. We have also upgraded repeaters/translators to a digital device at Saddleback, Bondi, Hill 60, Warringah and Avoca but they are currently being run in analogue mode. What improvements have been made to the State Operations Centre (SOC)?
Another outcome of the review was to centralise the communications network. This meant the closure of some of our regional SurfCom locations, and expansion of the SOC to allow for up to six operators. We now have 16 beach safety cameras displaying on the wall and a GPS asset tracking system in place. It's great to see local council lifeguard services join the network, what’s the aim of joining up all coastal services?
Our aim is to provide quality communication support to lifesaving and lifeguard services, no matter who they’re run by. Having the ability to communicate directly with lifeguards from council services will hopefully reduce response times for emergency call-outs through the 13SURF calls received by the SOC. We currently have Port Macquarie-Hastings, Warringah, Wollongong and Kiama councils on board, who all call in to the State Operations Centre via radio on a daily basis. We haven’t approached all councils yet, but we hope to have every service on board at some stage in the future as we expand our capacity and as funding allows.
What information are you collecting and how is this being used?
We are gathering the beach and powercraft status as well as any hazards. This information is being entered in to the SurfCom Management System and being displayed on the Beachsafe website for members of the public to get live information about their local beach. How does the SOC treat a 13SURF call when a council service is on the network? How does it treat a 13SURF call if the council service isn’t on the network?
If a 13SURF call is received we will always send the closest and most appropriate asset/service. If the incident occurs at a beach that we have radio communications with, the State Operations Centre can talk directly to the lifeguard/Surf Life Saving asset on the beach. If we don’t have communications, we rely on a phone call to the lifeguard supervisor who then tasks his assets which is potentially a longer response time. What is the greatest benefit to having council services on the network?
Being able to notify assets on the beach of an emergency within seconds of a call coming in to the State Operations Centre and Beachsafe being updated with live information seven days a week and not just on weekends/public holidays via Surf Life Saving Clubs. What is the ultimate goal for the SOC and what would this mean for the lifeguard industry?
For the Surf Life Saving State Operations Centre to be the single communications and coordination hub in NSW for all coastal emergencies. Lifeguards and Surf Life Saving Services will be provided with more support via radio communication, asset tracking, coastal beach safety camera and helicopter support. Ultimately, the goal of the SOC is to reduce response times to coastal incidents, preventing drowning and improving public safety.
lifeguard magazine 13
New Safety Measures
makes lifejackets compulsory in IRB operations
LSA has recently mandated the compulsory wearing of lifejackets by all SLS IRB operators in all SLS IRB operations.
This decision was made to enhance the safety of members and employees operating in an IRB and also conforms to relevant state or territory maritime authority regulations.
By 1 October 2014, all clubs and services must ensure full compliance with this new regulation. All IRB operators (drivers and crewperson/s) must wear a lifejacket when operating an IRB for front-line lifesaving services and during competition (including all training sessions). The lifejacket must be certified to the Australian or International standards (AS:4758 or ISO:12402 at Level 50) and be in relevant SLS lifesaving colours (for front-line lifesaving operations). For more information please refer to SLSA bulletin 03/13â€“14.
Saving Lives Off The Beach LIFESAVING
Saving lives off the beach NT lifeguards give blood and set challenge
embers of the Australian Lifeguard Service in the Northern Territory are saving lives off the beach by donating blood in a bid to stop blood stocks running low, especially during the Christmas, new year and summer holiday period. Their donations come in response to concerns by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service that many Darwin residents take an extended holiday during the summer wet season, leading to a major drop-off in blood donations, which are vital in the treatment of cancer patients, trauma victims and new mothers. SLSNT Lifeguard Manager Trevor Radburn, himself a long time donor, organised the initiative at the local Red Cross Blood Donation Centre in Darwin. The response from lifeguards was so good the Red Cross used the event to launch its annual Blood Blitz campaign across the Top End.
“Lifeguards are not afraid of rolling up their sleeves to protect the community, whether that be from aquatic dangers or from a potential blood shortage,” Trevor said. “Every donation helps to save as many as three lives, and there is no better time than Christmas for us all to give back to the community. “The Red Cross needs around 27,000 blood donations every week in Australia, and this ongoing need doesn’t take a break over the summer holidays.” The initiative also attracted local Surf Life Saving Club members to join in and Surf Life Saving NT has now joined the Red Cross "Club Red" program and is challenging other lifesaving services to do the same. To donate blood call the Red Cross on 13 95 96 or visit their website donateblood.com.au
lifeguard magazine 15
LIFESAVING IT PATROL TRACKER
Keeping track of front-line operations
he Patrol Tracker is the latest app in SLSA’s growing library of smartphone based lifesaving tools designed to meet the tracking and recording needs of front-line lifesaving operations. Specifically, it enables patrol members, lifeguards, duty officers and other support personnel to identify and track the location of operations-related items, hazards and incidents for the benefit of the public and SLS. The app leverages the power of smart devices by using the GPS capabilities and the camera to precisely record asset information. This information is then relayed to the Surfcom for operational requirements management system and, if required, to the public through the Beachsafe website and app so the public can be alerted. Access to the Tracker is gained through the Portal app. Its functions vary according to the lifesaving role the user has within the organisation. At a minimum, it functions as a patrol tracker, allowing lifeguards and rostered patrol members to record the precise location of all lifesaving assets (such as where the patrol flags have been placed), along with hazard information and incidents. If the user has a support ops role, then the app can be used to monitor the coastal safety information as well as location and relay that information back to the Surfcom management system and to Beachsafe.
HOW IT WORKS • Uses the GPS capabilities of smartphones. • Log the patrol information by standing next to each item that needs recording. For example, to log the location of the flags, stand next to the left flag and press the appropriate link in the app and then repeat for the right flag. • Hazards, such as rips, can be recorded as can rescue data, such as preventative actions. • Information recorded on the app is sent to the Surfcom patrol management system for use by Surfcom operators. • Information is also sent to the Beachsafe website where members of the public can view real-time information including a photograph taken by a patrol member that very day. • Version two of Patrol Tracker (renamed Patrol Ops app) will be substantially better. Its features will include signing on; updating patrol/lifeguard status; signing off; photographing hazards and removing hazards – all from the app!
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MEMBERs PORTAL GOES LIVE SLSA has launched its new Members Portal and invites all surf club members, administrators, lifeguards and members of support organisations to create and activate an account. The portal facilitates the communication of news, announcements and job listings on its noticeboard, and includes a new library carrying national and state based documents. It also features a communications system. To access the Members Portal, go to portal.sls.com.au, click on the Create Account tab at the top of the page to create an account and access the news and library.
BEACHSAFE SPREADING FAR AND WIDE Australiaâ€™s leading beach safety app, Beachsafe, was released in October 2010 by SLSA. Since then, the free app, an extension of the website beachsafe.org.au has had over 134,673 downloads in iOS and android devices. In the past year alone, the website received 1,470,921 page views from 528,584 unique visitors. Beachsafe, available in 72 different languages, allows users to view up-to-date information about every beach in Australia, to find a safe place to swim, surf or fish, and to plan ahead when heading to the coast. The Beachsafe app can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.
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FEATURE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Sunshine Coast Changing of the guard
n late 2012, the Sunshine Coast Council outsourced its lifeguard service to Surf Life Saving Queensland. Nearly two years have passed, and the azure beaches of the Sunshine Coast have never been safer, writes Alen Delic.
The Sunshine Coast's new setup:
Sunshine Coast lifeguard Corey Jones’ eyes were darting across the blue abyss below as the helicopter he was in hovered off of Noosa Heads. He was part of a team searching for a 21-year-old Saudi Arabian national who was swept into the ocean by a wave within Noosa National Park. Unfortunately, the Saudi student met with a tragic end, but the helicopter search was something lifeguard Corey will never forget. “A helicopter definitely gives you a better view than you have from the beach,” he said. “In those kinds of situations, it’s a great tool to have.” 18 lifeguard magazine
• 96 lifeguards in total • 25 permanent lifeguards • 22 new rescue boards • 7 new trucks • 5 new jetskis • 14 new all-terrain vehicles • New tower equipment • 14 new defibrillators • 13 new first aid soft packs
A chance to take to the skies
Even though Corey was not part of the group that found the 21-year-old, he would not previously have had the chance to be a part of the aerial search. The Sunshine Coast recently added the helicopter to its arsenal of surf lifesaving tools, following the 2012 move of its lifeguards to Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Australian Lifeguard Service from the Sunshine Coast Council. Previously, during a search, local Sunshine Coast Council lifeguards would have needed to join with Surf Life Saving Queensland’s lifeguards, who
CHANGING OF THE GUARD FEATURE
were trained and had access to advanced rescue equipment. Roving patrols on jetskis in the ocean would have been operated by lifesaving support from Surf Life Saving Queensland, while the Sunshine Coast’s lifeguards were on the beach. It was a similar story with the helicopter. It has now been more than a year since the move, and lifeguards have never had better access to resources. Local lifeguards now have full access to a helicopter for search and rescue situations, as well as roving patrols on jetskis, and more access to training than ever before. “We do a whole lot of different sorts of training,” Corey said.
They have also had a chance to undertake higher levels of safety training than ever before.
The permanent lifeguards were not only made to complete their Certificate II in Public Safety, including board and tube rescues, fitness testing, complex rescue and workplace scenarios, but also the Silver Medallion: Aquatic Rescue course and Advanced A HELICOPTER First Aid Certificate. DEFINITELY GIVES
YOU A BETTER VIEW THAN YOU HAVE FROM THE BEACH.
“We’re still doing training as we’re going at the moment. “We’re always learning new things and getting better.” In 2013, five of the Sunshine Coast’s permanent staff completed the helicopter training. Corey was a part of that team.
In completing these courses, lifeguards have been able to gain a Certificate III in Public Safety, a higher qualification than the Gold Medallion.
After dealing with some of the toughest rescue situations possible, the Sunshine Coast’s permanent lifeguards are now among the most qualified in Australia.
Making a career out of it
Corey Jones has been in the water since before he can remember.
“We had to go to Brisbane a few times,” he said.
“I started doing Nippers when I was a young fella,” he said.
“It took a couple of months but now we can do it.”
“Joined a surf club when I was about 7 or 8.”
New gear, new training, new lives
Today, the Sunshine Coast has nearly 100 lifeguards patrolling its beaches, including 25 full-time staff. Surf Life Saving Queensland chief lifeguard Greg Cahill said that despite the initial hesitancy and ambivalence about the move, lifeguards have warmed up to the transition. “We’ve done a lot of work with the guards since that time,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of training, a lot of development, we’ve introduced a lot of new equipment and continued to make the beach a safer place.” The service has received a range of new equipment including 22 new rescue boards, seven new trucks, five new jetskis, 14 new all-terrain vehicles, and 14 new defibrillators.
Today, he is one of the Sunshine Coast’s 25 full-time professional lifeguards. With the transition, the Sunshine Coast lost some of its most experienced lifeguards, but it opened to door to a new era of young lifeguards to take over. “We’ve got a whole heap of new guys and it’s not the kind of job where you can learn overnight,” he said. “It takes years and years to learn all the different situations.” For the Sunshine Coast’s aspiring young lifeguards, they have the chance to follow in Corey’s footsteps, from Nippers to surf club, to lifesavers, to lifeguards. Surf Life Saving Queensland gives its youngsters a chance to earn some of the highest possible qualifications, specialize in jetski and helicopter rescue, and make a career out of their love for the beach.
lifeguard magazine 19
5 minutes with
ort Macquarie-Hastings Council lifeguard and former World Championship Tour (WCT) surfer Darren O’Rafferty talks to LIFEGUARD about pro surfing, pro lifeguarding and winning his maiden Australian Open title.
How’d you get the lifeguard gig? My friend Tim Ferris was the senior lifeguard in Port Macquarie, he was down a lifeguard so he trained me up and put me on. 20 lifeguard magazine
Why’d you answer Tim’s call? So I could work at the beach all day and help people out. Driving to the beach everyday of summer to work is pretty awesome. You were a grommet, not a nipper… I was quite young when my dad introduced my brother and me to surfing when we moved to the Camden Haven area and I’ve been going ever since.
DRIVING TO THE BEACH EVERYDAY OF SUMMER TO WORK IS PRETTY AWESOME. You were on the WCT for six years living the dream, how good was it!? I got to surf places like Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Indonesia and all through Europe – I pretty much got to surf all the major surf spots around the world. It was amazing. I got to compete with amazing surfers like Andy and Bruce Irons, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Shane Powell, Occy… Can you single out your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement would have to be being on the world tour for those years. You won the 2013 Australian Open title on your home break after several years trying, how did it feel and was it the home break advantage that got you over the line? I was so happy to have got an Aussie title. It’s something I’ll cherish
SURFING HELPS DEVELOP KNOWLEDGE THAT CAN HELP PREVENT DANGEROUS SITUATIONS BEFORE THEY EVENTUATE.
[AGE] 34 [BORN] Penrith [LIVES] Bonny Hills, NSW Mid North Coast [FAMILY] Has a 4-year-old daughter with partner Fiona [LIFEGUARD SERVICE] Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (five years) [HOBBIES] Surfing, fishing and enjoying the beach with family
forever. The final ten minutes were really nerve-wracking. Monty [Tait] had me really nervous, I didnâ€™t want him to catch another wave after seeing him get an 8.35. I knew if he caught a wave he could destroy it. I had some of my best mates down watching, so to get the win at home with my friends watching was so special. I was really stoked. Advice for young lifeguards aspiring to become champion surfers like you? Surf everyday 1ft to 10ft. How does being a surfer enhance your lifeguarding? I think growing up surfing gives you amazing skills in the ocean. Also, surfing helps develop knowledge that can help prevent dangerous situations before they eventuate. lifeguard magazine 21
INFLIGHT SURF SAFETY MESSAGES FOR INBOUND TOURISTS
here were 307 fatalities of persons of known foreign ethnicity between 2004-2013, representing 36% of all coastal drowning deaths. Of these, 32% were international tourists who represent 12% of all coastal drowning deaths. Tourists are an extremely transient demographic, which means the intervention process is problematic.
program which features essential information about arrival cities Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Advertising on airlines presents the best opportunity to deliver a simple surf safety message and give SLS the ability to target high-risk nationalities and to deliver captioned advertisements in multiple languages.
Virgin Australia is also screening the message on their flights as part of their on-going partnership with SLS.
SLS is now advertising on flights to promote the "Be safe and always swim between the red and yellow flags" message. It will run as part of the Destination...
It will be screened twice on every flight arriving into Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. It is compulsory viewing (with the soundtrack broadcast via the plane’s public address system) on China, Garuda, Malaysia, Philippine and South African airlines, which means the message will be seen twice by every person on each flight. For Singapore Airlines, an announcement is made to alert travellers that the Destination... program will be shown on a specific channel.
Using inflight television commercials, the "swim between the flags" message, voiced by Waverely Council lifeguard Harry Nightingale, will reach more than 1,772,000 people over a six-month period or more than 3,544,000 people in one year!
International airlines showing the safety message
• China Airlines • Garuda Indonesia • Malaysia Airlines • Philippine Airlines • Singapore Airlines • South African Airlines
New Cert II Manual Education & Training
New CERT II MANUAL includeS lifeguards
new version of the Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue manual is due for release in June 2014. This manual is the core textbook for the Bronze Medallion/Cert II in Public Safety, and is also a valuable reference text for all SLS operations. The new 34th edition of this manual is targeted at both lifeguards and lifesavers, and includes: • Information on the lifeguard workplace, not only surf lifesaving clubs; • Carries and spinal management techniques for when only one or two rescuers are available;
• More in-depth surf awareness information; • New rescue techniques content; • Updated first aid and resuscitation content based on the latest evidence; and • More photographs to explain techniques, and photos are now a balance of lifeguards and lifesavers.
the new 34th edition of this manual is targeted at both lifeguards and lifesavers.
The text for the manual has been developed by a panel of experts in all aspects of surf lifesaving and support operations, including lifeguard service managers. New teaching resources to support the manual are also under development and include an online Bronze course, and a suite of videos showing key lifesaving techniques.
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EDUCATION & TRAINING SURF HERO
The Surf Hero website has a comprehensive activity centre with fun games such as find-a-words, memory challenges, quizzes and colouring in activities. The activities focus on teaching children about safety and warning signs, how to identify a rip, the role of lifeguards and lifesavers and what our responsibilities are as beach users. The website also features four mascots including Sonny the Lifeguard and Max the Surf Lifesaver Meerkat as well as the University of New South Wales’ Associate Professor Rob Brander as Dr Rip and surfing champion Sally Fitzgibbons as Sally the Surf Coach.
utherland Shire Council is encouraging primary school children to learn about beach safety and how they can become Surf Heroes on its new website surfhero.com.au. “Many of us have childhood memories of spending time at the beach in summer – it’s an Australian tradition. We are hoping that through the Surf Hero website and learning from the mascots such as Sonny the Lifeguard and world-number-three surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, our kids will be safer at the beach,” said Sutherland Shire Mayor Steve Simpson.
“Learning about beach and surf safety is so important and Surf Hero introduces kids to the basic surf safety concepts in a fun and enjoyable way. It’s also a great resource for schools, community groups and young people to find out about programs to enhance their skills and knowledge about surf safety,” said Sally Fitzgibbons. The Surf Hero site has been designed in consultation with Surf Life Saving NSW, the University of NSW, Vegemite Surfgroms and Surfers Rescue 24/7. There are opportunities for providers of other surf awareness programs outside of southern Sydney to promote their courses on the site. Associate Professor Rob Brander from the University of New South Wales has created several activities on the site to educate kids about the dangers of rip currents on our beaches. “Rip currents cause more fatalities in an average year than bushfires, cyclones, floods and sharks combined. With thousands of rips on our
SURFING ONLINE HELPS KIDS BECOME SURF HEROES beaches and so many unpatrolled beaches, it is so important that school kids get as much rip current education as possible so they have the knowledge to keep themselves safe on our beaches,” Associate Professor Brander said. In addition to children using the site in their own time, the games and activities have been designed so that teachers can use them to complete the water safety components of primary school syllabuses. “Kids will love getting to know Sonny, Max, Dr Rip and Sally, and will hopefully learn more about surf safety at the same time.” Mayor Simpson said.
SURF HERO INTRODUCES KIDS TO THE BASIC SURF SAFETY CONCEPTS IN A FUN AND ENJOYABLE WAY.
“Incorporating vital ocean awareness and beach safety advice into practical surfing or surf lifesaving tuition will help kids realise for themselves just how important surf safety is and perhaps even inspire them to become Nippers or Vegemite SurfGroms and continue to learn at their local surf school and surf life saving club.” Sutherland Shire beach operations manager Brad Whittaker said the website is supposed to be an introduction, not a definitive online surf safety experience. “It’s there to give primary-school-age children a basic introduction to surf safety before engaging in the numerous programs and activities that various organisations offer at the beach. Brad is keen to hear from anyone who has any ideas to improve or promote the website.
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Sutherland Shire Mayor Steve Simpson and surf heroes
EDUCATION & TRAINING TSUNAMI
Tsunami The Ultimate Guide
Do you know the signs of tsunami? How quickly do tsunami travel? Would you know what to do in a tsunami?
Visit emknowledge. gov.au/connect/ tsunami-theultimate-guide
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Visit â€˜Tsunami: The Ultimate Guideâ€™ (emknowledge. gov.au/connect/tsunamithe-ultimate-guide) to find out the life-saving answers to these questions and much more.
TSUNAMI EDUCATION & TRAINING
Marine Threat Tsunami
n the event of a tsunami, lifeguards, as guardians of the coastline, may well find themselves on the front line. So how much do you know about tsunamis? In this feature SLSA’s Public Safety Project Coordinator Sarah Anderson explains what is being done in Australia to educate the public. Australia experiences a tsunami once every four years, on average. The Bureau of Meteorology says there have been more than 50 tsunami events in Australia since 1788. Many people aren’t aware that Australia regularly experiences marine tsunami events. They can cause dangerous rips, waves and strong currents. Understanding this threat and knowing what to do in a tsunami is vital information for lifeguards.
Understanding this threat and knowing what to do in a tsunami is vital information for lifeguards. Surf Life Saving Australia forms an integral part of the Australian Tsunami Warning System and is part of the Australian Tsunami Advisory Group (ATAG), which includes the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, the SES and the Attorney-General’s Department. As part of the federal government’s National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, ATAG received funding for a National Tsunami Community Education Strategy. In 2012, SLSA was commissioned by ATAG to manage the strategy and create a public awareness campaign around tsunami. Along with the general public, a key target audience is school children in years six to eight. In our research we found there was a lot of information about tsunami available on the web, but there wasn’t a single authoritative guide, particularly not with an Australian focus. Following detailed discussions with ATAG, we determined the best way to reach the audience was via
TSUNAMI SIGNS • FEEL If you’re near the shore and you feel the ground shake, a tsunami may have been caused by a nearby earthquake. • SEE If you see the ocean water draw back from a beach, bay or river, a tsunami may be on its way. The water may not always recede, so don’t rely on it as the only sign of a tsunami. • HEAR If you hear a loud roaring sound or see a wave coming, a tsunami may be on its way. If you feel, see or hear the signs of tsunami, move away from the water and go to higher ground. Don’t wait for a warning, it may not come in time. Act quickly—it saves lives.
Marine threat tsunami can cause dangerous rips, waves and strong currents that pose a risk to surfers, swimmers, people in small boats and anyone else in the water. There may be some localised flooding onto the immediate foreshore. If there is a marine threat tsunami: • Immediately clear all swimmers from the water and move them away from the water’s edge. • Boats in harbours should return to shore. Secure any boats and move away from the waterfront. Boats at sea should stay offshore in deep water. • Monitor the radio, TV or internet for information. Don’t let swimmers return to the water until you receive official advice that it is safe to do so. Visit bom.gov.au/tsunami or call—1300 TSUNAMI (1300 878 6264) for tsunami warnings.
an online interactive resource "Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide" and the Australian Disaster Forum which ran in October 2013. The resource is housed on the Australian Emergency Management Institute’s Knowledge Hub at emknowledge.gov.au/connect/tsunami-the-ultimate-guide. The resource aligns to the national curriculum and is intended to give students all the tsunami information they need in one authoritative guide. Arranged into six chapters, it covers how tsunami events are created, how they move across oceans and how they impact on land. It includes discussion of the tsunami threat in Australia, the Australian Tsunami Warning System, types of tsunami, how to prepare for tsunami, their signs and what to do in a tsunami. It also features detailed case studies of the three devastating tsunami events of the last ten years—the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2010 Chile tsunami and 2011 Japan tsunami.
Focus on visual & first-hand accounts
The resource is highly visual, dynamic and interactive. Much of the information about tsunami is best displayed through imagery and graphics, particularly animations or live footage, which can capture the motion of a tsunami from its creation (usually from an undersea earthquake) through the movement of waves across the ocean, the often devastating impact where a tsunami hits land as well how the warning system works. It also includes news reports as well as interviews with tsunami experts, who explain how they monitor tsunami and manage the warning system, and survivors, who share their experience of being caught in a tsunami and the often life-changing lessons they learned. The response to the resource from the emergency management sector has been extremely positive. It has even been promoted by the UN via United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). UNISDR have featured the resource on Twitter, Facebook and on their PreventionWeb network which promotes the work of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction partnership and the disaster reduction community. As the beach is often the first place a tsunami hits, it’s critical that lifeguards understand the threat they pose and know what to do in a tsunami event. Australia does indeed experience tsunami and we have a sophisticated warning system that can give a tsunami warning within 30 minutes of an event being detected. The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre is the authority for tsunami warnings in Australia and its offshore territories. Visit bom.gov.au/tsunami or call—1300 TSUNAMI (1300 878 6264). lifeguard magazine 27
EDUCATION & TRAINING THE AUSTRALIAN DISASTER FORUM
The Australian Disaster Forum By Sarah Anderson "Stories capture hearts and minds, hold valuable lessons and also save lives." This message was the driving force of the inaugural Australian Disaster Forum held at Questacon in Canberra on 14 October 2013. Presented by Surf Life Saving Australia, in association with the Australian Government’s Attorney-General’s Department, the forum was produced as part of the National Tsunami Community Education Strategy under the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience. It showcased 11 disaster experts and eyewitnesses from around Australia who related their stories, lessons and ideas across several hazards, including tsunami, bushfires, severe storms and floods. Following a contemporary TED-style philosophy (Technology, Entertainment, Design ted.com)—the presentations were succinct, personal and highly visual. Speakers were encouraged to share what they had learned from their personal experiences of disasters. Emergency management professionals and students considered aspects of disaster resilience and built a better understanding of disasters through hearing about the experience of others. The keynote speaker was Anna Bligh, former Premier of Queensland, who spoke about her experience in the Queensland floods and severe storms of 2011. One thing she particularly emphasised was the importance of building resilient communities. Other speakers included representatives from government, emergency management sectors, science organisations, as well as volunteer surf lifesavers and survivors of disaster events. Presenters told inspiring stories of survival, community unity and recovery from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and the 2013 Bundaberg floods. Interspersed among the presentations were digital stories from school children and firefighters who experienced the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009 and the Lennox Head tornado in 2010. The stories were produced by the Attorney-General’s Department and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image as part of the Living with Disaster series to promote learning about disasters through the experience of others. More than 100 emergency management professionals and high-school students attended the forum, and the feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. The presentations were filmed and will be available on the Australian Emergency Management Institute’s Knowledge Hub: emknowledge.gov.au.
Back row (L-R) Dr Yuelong Miao, Dan Jaksa, Alex Batty, Michael Peach, Rick Bailey, Craig Holden, Rob McNeil, Anthony Bradstreet, Sarah Anderson. Front row (L–R) Kimina Lyall, Anna Bligh, Wendy Johnston, Matilda Heselev.
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THE AUSTRALIAN DISASTER FORUM PROGRAM MUST SEE! Inner Warning Systems: Lessons from the Tsunami Kimina Lyall, writer and survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Digital Story: Into the Flames Interview with Black Saturday Firefighter Simon Roylance Bundaberg Floods: Community Partnerships Craig Holden, Regional Operations Manager, Surf Life Saving Queensland, and Wendy Johnston, volunteer lifesaver, Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club The Best Worst Thing that Ever Happened to Me Matilda Heselev, year-9 student who witnessed the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Digital Story: Yellow Morning Caitlin Foley, a schoolgirl, gives an account of the 2010 Lennox Head tornado The Development of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System Rick Bailey, Head of Tsunami Warning and Ocean Services, Bureau of Meteorology Ausnami: Be Prepared for the Worst Daniel Jaksa, Section Leader of the Australian Earthquake Alert and Tsunami Warning System, Geoscience Australia, and Dr Yuelong Miao, National Manager Tsunami Warning Services, Bureau of Meteorology Bushfires Are Inevitable Alex Batty, Qualified Firefighter, Victorian Country Fire Authority Australia’s Response to the Japanese Tsunami Rob McNeil, Assistant Commissioner, Fire and Rescue NSW Tsunami Recovery: Thailand Michael Peach, Disaster Management Standards Branch, Emergency Management Queensland The Resilient Community Anna Bligh, former Premier of Queensland
ROCKY COAST DROWNING DEATHS 2004-13
ocky coasts have proven to be dangerous locations, second only to beaches in Australia during 2012-13. There were twentythree drowning deaths (19%) along rock dominated coasts this past year. The vast majority of rockycoasts-related drowning deaths from 2004-13 have occurred during rock fishing activity (n= 108, 68.8%). The second most common activity resulting in rocky-coasts-related drowning is "rock/ cliff related activities other than rock fishing" (n= 22, 14.0%), which includes rock walking or taking photographs. In addition since 2004, 8 people (5.1%) have drowned on the rocky coast while attempting a rescue of someone who has already been swept into the water. SLSA is currently collaborating with researchers from University of Melbourne and the University of Wollongong to assess the dangers of rocky coast platforms and to develop a unique risk classification system of these areas. After a successful pilot study, the team has been awarded an Australian Research Council linkage grant to continue the research for three years. The new project will use analysis of airborne and ground-based laser surveying and wave modelling to quantify the risk of people being washed into the sea from rocky coasts. How users perceive waves on rock platforms will also be analysed to determine if risk perception correlates to actual risk. The integrated risk framework developed will provide a completely new and critically needed understanding of hazards on rocky shores.
1.3%5.7% 1.9% 1.3% 1.9% 5.1%
Rock Fishing Rock/Cliff Related Attempting a Rescue Snorkelling Swimming/Wading Diving Watercraft Unknown Activities related to Rocky Coast Drowning Deaths, 2004-13
Source: SLSA 2013 National Coastal Safety Report
EDUCATION & TRAINING NEWS
Pool Lifeguard Bridging Course A trial is underway of the Pool Lifeguard Bridging Course. This course is designed for lifeguards patrolling at pool and lagoon locations and to facilitate a career pathway into pool lifeguarding for lifesavers who already hold the following awards and associated units of competency: • Bronze Medallion/Cert II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue); • Apply (Senior) First Aid; • Advanced Resuscitation Techniques Certificate; and • Spinal Management Certificate. The Pool Lifeguard Bridging Course is aligned to the following nationally recognised units of competency, which are a part of the SIS10 Pool Lifeguard Skill Set. • SISCAQU202A Perform basic water rescues • SISCAQU306A Supervise clients at an aquatic facility or environment • SISCAQU307A Perform advanced water rescues On successful completion of this half-day course, participants will be issued with an SLSA Pool Lifeguard Bridging Course Certificate and the SIS10 Pool Lifeguard Skill set, enabling them to be employed at aquatic facilities as qualified pool lifeguards.
Silver Medallion Communications Centre Operator
EDUCATION & TRAINING News 30 lifeguard magazine
Online Introduction to Search and Rescue This new online course is recommended for all lifeguards, patrol captains and vice captains as part of their ongoing skills maintenance, but is also available to any Bronze Medallion holder. The course has been developed to provide access to the theory content of the Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue course that is most relevant to the role of a lifeguard and patrol captain.
This season Surf Life Saving Australia have introduced a new award—the Silver Medallion Communications Centre Operator. The aim of this course is to provide participants with the skills to work in a lifesaving communications centre. This award replaces the Silver Medallion Radio Controller award and is aligned to the following nationally recognised units of competency: • PUAECO001A Operate telephone systems; • PUAECO002A Process emergency incident calls and enquiries; and • PUAECO003A Operate and control radio networks.
Surf Life Saving Australia
2013 National Coastal Safety report A summary of coastal drowning deaths in Australia
ustralians and international visitors are increasingly drawn to our coastlines. With an estimated 100 million visitations each year the task of ensuring the safety of everyone who visits Australiaâ€™s 11,912 beaches and 36,000km of coastline is an extremely challenging one. SLSAâ€™s 2012-13 National Coastal Safety Report contains analysis of cases of coastal drowning deaths for the period of 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013. The report examines the factors that contribute to drowning deaths in Australia by examining who, where, when and how people have drowned on Australian coasts over the last year. The National Coastal Safety Report assists and supports evidence-based decision making on coastal drowning prevention programs, and allocation of scarce resources to strategic high-risk interventions. Despite the extensive network of services deployed nationally to reduce the coastal drowning toll including volunteer surf lifesavers, Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) and council employed lifeguards, rescue helicopters, rescue boats, surveillance systems, radio control and coordination centres, community education and coastal safety risk assessments, coastal drownings are still at unacceptable levels. Every life lost is one too many.
National Overview The following report is a national summary of coastal drowning deaths in Australia from the 2013 National Coastal Safety Report. To download the full report, including state breakdowns, visit sls.com.au/publications
/ Surf Life Saving Australia / 2013 National Coastal Safety Report
National Overview Coastal Drowning Deaths
150 No COD listed COD listed
60 0.2 30
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
2004-13: Nine year trend of national coastal drowning deaths National coastal drowning death numbers and crude drowning rates 2004-13. The nine year average rate per 100,000 population is 0.44 and number is 95, the rate for 2012-13 is 0.53 and number is 121.
0.15 Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft Attempting a Rescue Diving Snorkelling Rock/Cliff Related Other Unknown
2004-13: Nine year coastal drowning deaths by activity The rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur varies over time. The swimming and wading rate of drowning is less than the nine year average (0.13 vs. 0.14 average rate per 100,000 pop.) Activities where the rate is equal to the nine year average include: diving (0.02 rate per 100,000 pop.), snorkelling (0.02 rate per 100,000 pop.), and rock/cliff related (0.01 rate per 100,000 pop.). Activities where rate of drowning is greater than the nine year average include: boating (0.08 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 pop.), rock fishing (0.07 vs. 0.06 average rate per 100,000 pop.), watercraft (0.06 vs. 0.03 average rate per 100,000 pop.), attempting a rescue (0.05 vs. 0.02 average rate per 100,000 pop.), and other activities (0.03 vs. 0.01 average rate per 100,000 pop.). Other activities include paragliding, fishing from pier, and falls.
National Overview Coastal Drowning Deaths
Crude Drowning Rate Per 100,000
Coastal Drowning Deaths 0.8
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
5% 2.5% 3.3%
3.3% 9.9% 14.9%
Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft Snorkelling Rock/Cliff Related Attempting a Rescue Diving Other Unknown
2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by state (n=121)
2012-13: Coastal Drowning Deaths by Activity (n=121)
Of the 121 coastal drowning deaths, 48 (40%) occurred in NSW, 24 (20%) in WA, 23 (19%) in Vic, 14 (12%) in Qld, six (5%) in SA, four (3%) in Tas, and two (2%) in NT.
The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred when an individual was participating in swimming or wading (30, 24.8%), boating (18, 14.9%), rock fishing (17, 14.0%), or using watercraft (14, 11.6%).
0-4 5-9 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 85+ unknown
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
Age Group (Years)
Beach Rock/Cliff Offshore Bay Marina/Jetty
2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by age group and sex (n=121)
2012-13: Location of coastal drowning deaths (n=121)
The age groups representing the highest rates of fatalities are 65-69 years (1.4 per 100,000 pop.), 60-64 years (1.1 per 100,000 pop.), and 55-59 years (0.9 per 100,000 pop.). 105 fatalities (87%) were male.
64 coastal drowning deaths (52.9%) occurred at a beach location; this is an increase over last yearâ€™s beach located drownings (n=53).
/ Surf Life Saving Australia / 2013 National Coastal Safety Report
National Overview Coastal Drowning Deaths
10 8 6
8 6 4
12:01am-1 am 1:01am-2am 2:01am-3am 3:01am-4am 4:01am-5am 5:01am-6am 6:01am-7am 7:01am-8am 8:01am-9am 9:01am-10am 10:01am-11am 11:01am-12pm 12:01pm-1pm 1:01pm-2pm 2:01pm-3pm 3:01pm-4pm 4:01pm-5pm 5:01pm-6pm 6:01pm-7pm 7:01pm-8pm 8:01pm-9pm 9:01pm-10pm 10:01pm-11pm 11:01pm-12am
2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by month (n=121)
2012-13: Coastal drowning deaths by time (n=92*)
The highest percentage of coastal drowning occurred in the months of December (14.9%) and March (14.0%). 77 (64%) occurred outside of the summer months, especially in November and March. Shading denotes season.
There are currently 92 coastal drowning deaths (76%) with known times. Most of these fatalities occurred between 9:01am and 10:00am (10, 11% ) and between 2:01pm and 5pm (30, 25%), shaded. * Only incidents with known times are represented.
16.5% 28.1% 7.4% 46.3%
Less than 1km Greater than 5km 1km to 5km
Greater than 50km Less than 10km 10km-50km International Unknown
2012-13: Distance from drowning location to lifesaving service (n=121)
2012-13: Distance from residence to drowning location (n=121)
56 individuals (46.3%) drowned less than one kilometre from the nearest lifesaving service. 38 of these incidents (67.9%) occurred at unpatrolled times. No coastal drowning deaths occurred between the red and yellow flags.
34 individuals (28.1%) lived greater than 50 kilometres from the drowning location. Nine coastal drowning deaths (7.4%) involved international tourists.
AGE COMPARISON 55-69 YEARS VS. 20-34 YEARS
he age groups most represented in this yearâ€™s coastal drowning deaths are 55-69 year olds (n=40, 33%) and 20-34 year olds (n=33, 27%). These age peaks warranted further comparative analysis.
People aged 55-69 years were more likely to drown undertaking boating (22.5%); swimming and wading (20%); watercraft (12.5%); and snorkelling-related activities (10%). By contrast, people aged 20-39 years were likely to drown undertaking swimming and wading (24.2%); watercraft-(24.2%); and rock-fishing-related activities (21.2%). The contributing factor in the drowning incident was mostly unknown in more than half of cases. However, where contributing factors were known, medical-related incidents were most common for the older age group (32.5%) and rip currents were most common for the younger age group (27.3%). Positive toxicity to illicit drugs and/or alcohol was found in only one case for each age group. As the reflection of the drowning activity people in the older age group were more likely to drown at the beach (60.0%) or offshore (25.0%). By contrast, younger people were more likely to drown at the beach (48.5%) or at a rocks/cliff location (30.3%). These findings reinforce the need to focus prevention specifically to those age groups at high risk of drowning and also highlight the need to target specific age groups with specific prevention messages.
70 55-69 years 20-34 years
55-69 years 20-34 years
20 Percentage (%)
40 30 20
Attempting a Rescue
Comparison of activities undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur in individuals aged 55-69 years (n=40) and 20-34 years (n=33)
Comparison of contributing factors for coastal drowning death in individuals aged 55-69 years (n=40) and 20-34 years (n=33)
Source: SLSA 2013 National Coastal Safety Report
A journey beyond the breakers
Rob's rip research review
f there’s been one polarising topic in lifeguard circles over the last five years it’s been rip currents, specifically how we as an industry should tackle rip current education. LIFEGUARD asked Australia’s leading expert on rip currents, Associate Professor Rob Brander, from the University of New South Wales, to provide an update on the industry’s rip current journey.
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In 2009, a scientific study out of the United States used GPS drifters to show that rip currents re-circulate most of the time and suggested that treading water and staying afloat might be the best response for people caught in rips. At the same time, Surf Life Saving Australia launched the first national rip education campaign in Australia based on "To Escape a Rip, Swim Parallel to the Beach". This combination of mixed messages resulted in a heated and passionate debate about what we should be telling people when they get caught in a rip: swim parallel or stay afloat. Much of this was played out in the media. However, despite the angst that this debate caused for lifeguards, lifesavers and coastal scientists alike, it may have been the best thing that ever happened to the "rip current problem".
Evidence-based approach taken
Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) took a lot of heat from a lot of people (me included!), but to their credit they helped fund a three year Australian Research Council Grant to myself and colleagues at The University of New South Wales to tackle the debate head on.
Since 2011, we have conducted three major scientific experiments at Shelly Beach (Central Coast), North Cronulla Beach and Bulli Beach involving GPS drifters to measure rip current flow and GPSequipped swimmers to test out the stay afloat/swim parallel escape strategies. We also conducted three big experiments at Bondi Beach and another at Whale Beach where we seeded the entire beach with drifters to understand rip flow behaviour a little better. At the same time we wanted to learn more about the people who are actually caught in rip currents. Who were they, what did they know about rips, how did they get caught, how did they react and how did they get out? So we developed an online survey for "rip current survivors" and to date have over 1000 responses. We have also interviewed over 100 people about their experiences to gain better insights. Last year, we extended the project to survey lifeguards and lifesavers themselves about their experiences rescuing people from rips and we have over 400 responses.
Have your say
Rip Workshop in February The ARC Linkage Project on swimmer behaviour in rip currents, a collaboration between UNSW and SLSA, is in the final year of its three year duration. The project team will be holding a workshop to discuss the outcomes of the research and begin the process of translating the evidence into action on Friday 28 February 2014, in Sydney. All interested stakeholders are invited to attend, please RSVP by contacting Anthony Bradstreet, SLSA Coastal Safety Manager on email@example.com or calling (02) 9215 8000.
lifeguard magazine 33
RESEARCH A JOURNEY BEYOND THE BREAKERS
Industry collaboration has been the key
The challenge lies ahead
The professional lifeguards with their jet skis and logistical support on the beach were amazing, as were the lifeguards and lifesavers who helped us putting and pulling equipment in and out of the surf.
We also need to increase our focus on prevention and rip avoidance. Swimming between the flags is great, but we all know that people will always swim outside of the flags and on unpatrolled beaches.
Both SLSA and APOLA helped enormously in the development and distribution of the surveys. I want to thank everyone who was involved in this research because it is state of the art and unlikely to be repeated again.
My personal opinion is that we have to teach people to understand more about rips and how to spot them. People tell me it’s impossible to do this. Maybe it is, but rips are visual features, there’s no reason why we can’t use this to our advantage in our education approaches and we have research to show that people can learn how to spot rips. At the very least we can increase people’s awareness of the danger of rips so they think twice before going in for a swim and have extra motivation to swim on patrolled beaches between the flags.
So we’ve got a ton of data and we’re slowly getting through it all, but I want to emphasise one important point. None of this would have been possible without the collaboration of so many people and organisations: SLSA, APOLA, council lifeguards (Wyong, Waverley, Sutherland Shire, Wollongong) and the ALS.
If there’s one constant, it’s that rips are dynamic
What have we found? Our rip experiments showed that while some rips circulate almost all the time, others don’t, particularly headland rips. Both floating and swimming parallel worked in some rips, but in other situations floating resulted in a lot of people heading pretty far offshore. Sometimes swimming parallel didn’t work because of the presence of alongshore currents. It may sound obvious, but rips are complex. Rip flow behaviour varies between rips on the same beach, between different types of rips, and even within the same rip over minutes and hours. Rip escape strategies are equally complex. What may work in one rip won’t work in the rip 100m up the beach. What is pretty clear is that there is no single "silver bullet" escape message that will apply to all rips all of the time.
What were they thinking?!
Our surveys and interviews also clearly show that it doesn’t matter how experienced people are when they get stuck in a rip, everything they know pretty much goes out the window as they start to panic. While most people have heard of the swim parallel message, not many are familiar with the stay afloat message and most people aren’t completely comfortable with the idea of floating.
34 lifeguard magazine
While there’s lots more to do, it’s pretty obvious we have a big challenge on our hands. Somehow we need to communicate that perhaps a combined approach to escaping a rip involving floating/ swimming/ signalling for help and at the same time avoiding panic is the way to go. But how do we do that?
The research project we did involved a lot of collaboration between different organisations and has been massively successful. The only way we can translate our results into real world outcomes is to have continued collaboration. We may never all be on the same page, but if we don’t at least work together, nothing will be achieved and people will keep drowning in rips in unacceptable numbers.
RIP CURRENT SURVIVOR STORY Rob says this quote, a personal account of being caught in a rip current from a "survivor" as part of the research project, sums everything up when it comes to the complexity of rip escape messages – showing there’s more to it than just saying "swim parallel" or "stay afloat". “I was doing that kind of panicked breath, when I was coming back out of the white water, so my thinking just wasn’t clear. I’d tried to swim parallel, I’d tried to flip on my back, and then just ended up swallowing water and that kind of thing was just unpleasant…My thought process just got really clouded and I just went into that panic of ‘I actually don’t know what to do … I can’t get myself out of this … I just really didn’t know what to do, and I thought I was going to die.”
Barrier reef corals deliver world first for sunscreen
SIRO, in partnership with skincare company Larissa Bright Australia, has created the world's first UVA/UVB sunscreen filters which mimic the natural sun protection used by corals on the Great Barrier Reef.
The breakthrough paves the way for a new generation of sunscreens that harness the same protective barriers developed by Australia's Great Barrier Reef corals over millions of years to survive in the harsh Australian sun. The new UV filters are resistant to both UVA and UVB rays and are clear and colourless, which means they can be used in any cream emulsion. CSIRO scientists have spent the last two years adapting the coral's sunscreen code so that it can be used safely as an ingredient in human sunscreen. The coral's sunscreen was improved to create a suite of 48 new sunscreen filters. The research builds on work by scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) who were the first to discover the natural sun-screening ability of coral on the Great Barrier Reef. Larissa Bright Australia, in partnership with AIMS, studied the results of over 20 years of AIMS research into how shallow-water corals protect themselves from UV light before approaching CSIRO. "We wanted to find a way to convert this natural method of coping with exposure to the intensive UV rays from Queensland's sunshine, into a safe and effective sunscreen for human use," Larissa Bright, Company Director of Larissa Bright Australia, said. "We feel these filters will set a new standard in broad-spectrum sunscreen. They mimic the natural sunscreen coral has developed and used over millions of years," she adds. The broad-spectrum coral sunscreen filters are expected to be available to consumers across the globe within five years.
CSIRO WORKING WITH MDI CSIRO is working with MDI to create the key ingredient, penthrox, in the green whistle â€” used by lifesavers everyday Penthrox is used in Australia as an analgesic by emergency medical practitioners, the defence forces, ambulance and surf lifesaving services. Recently its applications have expanded into dentistry, general practice, cosmetics and other medical specialities such as endoscopy. Penthrox has significant advantages over other analgesics such as nitrous oxide and morphine in that it is fast acting, self-administered, non-addictive, non-narcotic and safe to use, and provides strong pain relief. csiro.au/Portals/Media/MDIParamedics-Green-WhistleAnnouncement.aspx lifeguard magazine 35
FEATURE THE DARK AND THE LIGHT OF BONDI
The dark and the light of Bondi By Sarah Homewood
uring an Australian summer there are few places better than Bondi Beach. Tourists and locals alike flock to the famous location during the warmer months and when it comes time for most to head back to the office, for a special few this beautiful location is where they make a living. For Bondi lifeguard Jesse there is nowhere he would rather work. “I’ve been a Bondi lifeguard for three years, three good years – it’s unreal, not many people can wake up and say they like going to work.” However there is a dark side to Bondi, which very few will thankfully ever see. Just a 5km north of the popular beach is an ocean cliff called The Gap. The cliff has beautiful views but a dark association which doesn’t match it’s inner-city prized location, The Gap is known as a place where people commit suicide.
Depression Definition: People often use the word depression when they are talking about moments or phases when they’re feeling sad or down. But more officially, depression is a name for a range of different conditions. These include conditions where someone feels a sadness that is more severe than normal, lasts longer than two weeks and interferes with how they cope with everyday life. Clinical depression (also known as non-melancholic depression and major depression) is the most common type of depression and it affects one in four females and one in six males over their lifetime. It can be hard to diagnose because some of the symptoms of other types of depression are really unique (e.g. impaired mental functioning, psychotic features or physical disturbance), whereas the symptoms of clinical depression aren’t so specific.
It is estimated that every year 50 people end their lives at The Gap and often those who are first to respond are the lifeguards at Bondi. Jesse had only been on the job two weeks when he was first called to The Gap. “When I first started working at Bondi I had to go to a suicide and I will never forget it,” he says. “A lady had jumped and she fell 100m and stayed on the rocks, I can still remember everything she had on and whenever I go past, I still see her.” When lifeguards are called they are rushing to save someone’s life and Jesse explains that for him even when he gets a call to the notorious Gap, it is no different. “Look my job is to keep everyone safe and if I hear someone has jumped I am racing as fast as I can to save someone’s life. I’ll always put my body on the line to save someone’s life, even if I don’t think they’re going to be alive when I get there. That’s the job I signed up for.” Jesse himself is no stranger to suicide in not only his professional life but also his private life. “I’ve had a good friend who took his life and to deal with suicide at work its really hard because I know what the families are going though, 36 lifeguard magazine
honestly, it’s a really dark time,” he says. Having experienced lows himself and having seen the effect that suicide has on the community, last winter Jesse and fellow young Bondi lifeguard Maxi decided to do something different to try and raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention. “I was sitting with Maxi at North Bondi and we were talking about how everybody is doing stuff at the moment and I said let's do something.” “Maxi was an ambassador for headspace and we went to them and told them that we wanted to do something for the charity and they backed us 100%.” However what the boys had planned took a few people off guard and at first support was slightly difficult to find. For Jesse and Maxi being in the water everyday during summer wasn’t enough, so they chose to take it to the next level proposing that they ride on jetskis from Bondi Beach to Cairns in northern Queensland, a journey of more than 2,500km.
WE RAISED THE MOST MONEY IN THE HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN SITE OF POZIBLE. When discussing their plans Jesse said, “a lot of people said it wouldn’t work so we went about proving them wrong.” The boys launched an online fundraising campaign via the site Pozible which allows everyday people to donate money to a cause they believe in often for something in return, and in this case it was signed photos of the boys and surfing lessons, just to name a few. From there everything moved extremely quickly and the support they were looking for was quickly found online. “We raised the most money in the history of the Australian site of Pozible and Channel 10 and the National Geographic channel got on board to film us,” Jesse said. “It was a fantastic feeling to prove people wrong, we wanted to show that if you put your heart to something anything is possible.”
About Headspace: Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. The organisation aims to help young people who are going through a tough time.
The boys received the backing they needed, so now all they needed to do was complete the grueling ride. “Physically and mentally it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Jesse says. “The whole time going up the coast nine hours on the jetski at a time, talking to people at each stop about their depression and people who were affected by homophobia, bullying and talking to people who had been affected by or had contemplated suicide, it was an incredible journey.” For the boys it was more about the people they were meeting rather than the ride, they wanted to speak to as many people as possible about the struggles affecting them. “We wanted to speak to the kids out there and the people suffering and make sure that they’ve gone and spoken to the right people,” Jesse said. During the ride the boys raised over $105,000 from sponsors and the general public, and a documentary about the journey is now in pre-production. “Our purpose for this is ride is that hopefully it goes all around the world, the message that anyone can use the ocean, it’s there for free, they can be anything, any colour, any race, anyone can go to the beach – we want to share it with everyone.” As someone who has been saved by the beach, this message is especially pertinent for Jesse. “I’ve been in dark places not knowing for four years if I was going to be sent to jail, I had a lot of those things going on and I didn’t know my future – I wanted to know what was going on at the time and now I’ve got meet people to be my friends for the rest of my life.” Jesse explained that he wants to show kids that no matter where you are in life, if you're in jail or struggling with drug abuse or even if you believe there is no coming back from rock bottom, don’t give up, you owe it to yourself. “I’m still a bra boy – you can still be who you are, people respect you for who you are not for trying to be someone else. Regardless of wherever you are in life there are people out there who will give you a second chance and probably a third and forth chance, it’s never too late.” If you are struggling, support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14.
Depression Stats: Every day, at least six Australians die from suicide and a further thirty people will attempt to take their own life. While suicide accounts for only a relatively small proportion (1.6%) of all deaths in Australia, it does account for a greater proportion of deaths from all causes within specific age groups. For example, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. Australians are more likely to die by suicide than skin cancer. Men are at greatest risk of suicide but least likely to seek help. In 2010 men accounted for over three-quarters (76.9%) of deaths from suicide however, an estimated 72% of males don’t seek help for mental disorders.
lifeguard magazine 37
Post-Traumatic Stress: It's ok to be feeling that way
For most sitting on the beach taking in the beauty of the ocean there is no place more serene, however for those who keep us safe on our beaches the ocean is anything but.
By Sarah Homewood
or lifeguards and their supervisors keeping people safe from the ocean is their responsibility but the ocean that they enter everyday can hold many memories of those who they weren’t able to save.
Carl Vanzino who's been a lifeguard for 25 years and a supervisor for the last eight has seen his fair share of the dangers of the ocean and at times struggles to forget it. “I’ve been a lifeguard for 25 years now, so I’ve gone from giving basic first aid up to resuscitations and then to heart attacks and such, we’ve also had a couple of suicides off the rocks here and a car over turned and a boats over turned,” he said.
Experiencing such losses are not uncommon in lifeguarding, however, such events can stick with lifeguards for life. “For me personally you don’t forget those things, you know their faces and the whole outcomes, you do go home and think did I do the right thing? Did I do what I had been shown to do? “Half the time the processes you go through just go out the window especially with resuscitations, you really just do what you can,” Mr Vanzino explained.
Experiencing losses are not uncommon in lifeguarding however such events can stick with lifeguards for life.
“One particular incident that comes to mind was probably 12 years ago, a boat overturned off the Merries Reef here, some South Africans were on board and another boat went to assist but that boat also overturned and an eight-yearold boy drowned, his father and uncle also drowned.”
One reason Mr Vanzino has such a vivid memory of the boat accident is that he was one of the first to arrive at the scene that day.
“The boat that had over turned, I remember it because I was in the water for such a long time waiting for back up, I had two people on my board, the older gentlemen was already deceased and he was floating in the water next to me, those things you always think about,” he said.
ABOUT PTSD: What is PTSD? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event. That is, they have experienced or witnessed an event that threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them, and led to feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror. What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD? People with PTSD often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, similar to the fear they felt during the traumatic event. A person with PTSD experiences four main types of difficulties.
eliving the traumatic event – The person R relives the event through unwanted and recurring memories, often in the form of vivid images and
nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions, such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic when reminded of the event. eing overly alert or wound up – The person B experiences sleeping difficulties, irritability and lack of concentration, becoming easily startled and constantly on the lookout for signs of danger. voiding reminders of the event – The person A deliberately avoids activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings associated with the event because they bring back painful memories. eeling emotionally numb – The person loses F interest in day-to-day activities, feels cut off and detached from friends and family, or feels emotionally flat and numb. Source: beyondblue
FEATURE POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS
Even though the council offers counselling for any lifeguard or member of staff that may need it, Mr Vanzino has never used the service, when asked why not he explained honestly that he wasn’t quite sure. “I don’t know why, I’ve got one of the other supervisors sitting next to me and he’d probably be the same, I don’t know why blokes don’t open up about their feelings I just with stuff like that. “Yeah I haven’t got the answer for that one,” he said.
Vanzino will never get over. “These incidents are always in the back of your mind, I’m sitting in the office now and I’m looking out on exactly where that situation (the boat accident) was, anywhere along the beach where you’ve had an incident and or a resuscitation, you’re always going to remember that spot, and there are spots where these things occur all the time.”
go home and have a chat about it with the missus and a few of the boys and just move on from there.
Although Mr Vanzino hasn’t sought out professional help, he does believe that talking about such instances is what makes it all bearable.
“People deal with things in different ways, some hit the drugs or the booze, I find it’s good to have a chat, for me personally I just go home and have a chat about it with the missus and a few of the boys and just move on from there.” Regardless of all the conversations and support it is clear that there are just some things that Mr
As a supervisor, Mr Vanzino feels responsible for all the lifeguards on his roster and he knows that one of his main roles is to make sure that his staff are coping with the stresses of their job as best they can. “I just make sure our lifeguards know that the door's always open, every time there’s an incident or something goes down, we give them some friendly words and they know there are services if they need them. Some boys go home and have a couple of beers and be done with it, but they do that anyway, as long as they know we’re always here.”
MAINTAIN THE SPARK AWAY FROM WORK
eet the Sea-Doo Spark, a fun new way for you and your family to play on the water. Starting at $6,999*, it's easy to own, easy to tow thanks to its light weight and compact size, and an absolute blast to ride. A wide range of colours and options help you customise and make it exactly the Sea-Doo Spark you want. Your family's turn to join the fun you experience on the job has finally arrived! *Price does not include trailer and pre-delivery cost. seadoo.com.au/spark
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (sometimes called PTSD) is a form of anxiety disorder. Some people develop this condition after they have experienced a traumatic event. Have you:
• Experienced or seen something that involved death or injury and felt scared or helpless? • Had upsetting memories or dreams of the event for at least one month? • Found it hard to go about your daily life (e.g. work, study, getting along with family and friends)?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also experienced at least three of the following:
and have you experienced at least two of the following:
• Avoided activities that remind you of the traumatic event?
• Had trouble remembering parts of the event?
• Had difficulties sleeping (e.g. had bad dreams, or found it hard to fall or stay asleep)?
• Felt less interested in doing things you used to enjoy?
• Felt easily angered or irritated? • Had trouble concentrating?
• Had trouble feeling intensely positive emotions (e.g. love or excitement)?
• Felt on guard?
• Thought less about the future (e.g. about career or family goals)?
If so, you may be experiencing post-traumatic stress. Why you should seek help
Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future.
When to get further help
Following a potentially traumatic event the majority of people will not need professional help. However, it may be necessary to seek further assistance if initial distress has not reduced after two weeks.
• Been easily startled?
CONTACT In addition, for confidential or emergency support you can contact one of the following agencies: [beyondblue] 1300 22 4636 [Lifeline] 13 11 14 [Salvation Army] 1300 36 36 22
Who to contact for help
Your lifeguard manager is your first port of call. They will be able to determine what the best approach might be and provide referrals to professionals, if needed. Professional assistance is available through SLSA via state offices, and all councils will have support channels.
CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO SWIMMING AND WADING COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS
his past year there have been 30 fatalities related to swimming and wading activities (24.8%). These are consistently the most common activities undertaken at the time of coastal drowning death. The rate of these deaths has seen a general decrease over time. The 201213 year is the fifth consecutive year that the rates have been below the nine-year average rate of 0.14 per 100,000 population (dotted line). A nine-year analysis of the factors that have contributed to these events has been performed. Three known contributing factors for swimming and wading coastal drowning deaths are "being caught in a rip current", an occurrence of a "medical event or injury", or the presence of "alcohol and/or drugs". Thirty-six of the swimming and
wading incidents (13%) do not have a contributing factor associated with it, the majority of these (n=22) were within the 2011-12 and 2012-13 years. This number of cases with unknown information is expected to decrease as coronial reports are closed and become available electronically. The 2012-13 rates of the following contributing factors are less than their nine-year average rates: rip currents (0.04 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 population), medical and/or injury (0.03 vs. 0.04 average rate per 100,000 population), and alcohol and/or drug toxicity (0.01 vs. 0.03 average rate per 100,000 population). While the total number of swimming- and wading-related coastal drowning deaths has decreased this year, the number of incidents attributed to medical/injury-related issues has increased since last year. An analysis of all coastal drowning deaths revealed that at least 30% of all incidents had a medical condition (such as a cardiac event) or an injury (such as a head injury) associated with the drowning.
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
0.16 0.14 0.12
9 year ave. (Swimming/ Wading)
Alcohol/ Drug Toxicity
Known Contributing Factors to Swimming- and Wading-related Coastal Drowning Deaths, 2004-2013
Source: SLSA 2013 National Coastal Safety Report
Preventing lifeguard injuries
Get your free ebook: For an advanced leg strengthening program you can also download a free 20 page EBOOK from bodyworxphysio.com.au under Free EBOOKs.
eeping our beaches safe is a vital and rewarding tradition of lifeguards throughout Australia. But it can also be a very physically demanding job requiring strength, skill and endurance. As with any physical activity, injuries happen and can greatly affect your, work performance and home life. Like swimming between the flags to prevent trouble in the water, you can help to reduce the likelihood of injury by targeting your training to address risk factors common to the demands of your work. Try these tips to prevent the common injuries described below: Meniscus tear/knee ligament sprain: this is the cartilage that pads your knee joint and the bands that hold it together. Often this injury is suffered by twisting the knee when running on the sand or being hit by a wave. To help prevent this injury add into your program a variety of single leg activities such as one leg squat, step hops forward and sideways, lunges and agility runs. Sprained ankle: one of the most common injuries often caused by unstable surfaces or sudden impacts from waves. Incorporate single leg balance activities, single leg calf raises and hopping into your program. If ankle injuries are not rehabbed properly they have a very high rate of reoccurrence. Lower back pain: with so many structures that can be affected (joints, disc, nerves and muscles) this injury is often related to a combination of structures. Common causes include poor lifting technique and prolonged sitting. When lifting, remember to bend through the legs with the back straight and keep the weight close to your body. When turning, move through your legs not twisting through your back. If you are feeling stiff through your back try laying down on your stomach and doing a push up leaving your hips on the ground as shown middle right. Yoga is also a great way to start, for a sample oneminute program that’s a full-body stretch, check out the basic yoga routine on our blog at: bodyworxphysio.com.au/blog/
If you are looking at reorganising your training program remember to try and include exercises that mimic the demands of your sport and work. These functional exercises often use more muscles, activate the core and stabilising muscles, burn more energy and require less expensive equipment. If you are short of time but want a killer full-body work-out try the following. • 10 push ups then 10 plyometric lunges • 10 chin ups or rows (holding yourself under a handrail) with 10 squat jumps • 200m sprint then hold a plank for 60 seconds. Run through these exercises in order and try to repeat five times. By combing these six exercises you will target the major muscles and energy systems you use in lifesaving and build a stronger more injury-proof body.
JASON BRADLEY Jason Bradley is the owner and senior physio at BodyWorx Physio Kotara and The Junction (Newcastle, NSW). He has a keen interest in the pursuit of excellence in sports performance as well as injury prevention and education. bodyworxphysio.com.au
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GEAR & EQUIPMENT GET INTO GEAR
Get into gear Nikon 1 AW1
Nikon has launched the world's first digital camera with interchangeable lenses and two dedicated lenses that can be used underwater and can withstand the shock of a fall from a height of up to 2m.
Vorgee Missile Fuze
Nikon 1 AW1 also features a new Underwater Creative Mode that makes it easy for anyone to enjoy underwater photography.
Maui Jim uses patented colour infused PolarisedPlus®2 lens technology that is an optically correct, distortion-free lens providing greater contrast and clarity, which assists lifeguards in being able to read the wind and cut glare, whilst protecting their eyes from harmful UVA, UVB and UVC rays. The On Water Collection by Maui Jim includes 27 styles of sunglasses for men and women making it the broadest array of styles for people who love to live life on the water.
The latest products to make you look good, feel good and enjoy your day at the beach.
Ignite the fuze! A favourite in the surf, the Vorgee Missile Fuze goggles are an ultra-light low-profile racing goggle available in multiple dual-colour combinations. The polychromatic mirrored anti-fog lens provide maximum visibility in all conditions due to their ability to adjust depending on levels of light.
GAIA Skin + Body Collection (For Women) This handy zipped pack has been created especially for the sensitive skin care requirements of women, containing the classic skincare trio for face – GAIA Skincare Foaming Cleanser, Refreshing Toner and Facial Moisturiser, teamed with GAIA Bodycare Body Wash and Body Moisturiser. gaiaskinnaturals.com
GAIA Made For Men Perfect for the gym bag or those unexpected nights away, the GAIA Made For Men Overnighter combines all the products you need (and none you don’t!). Each product is luxuriously infused with organic lime, organic patchouli and organic spearmint pure essential oils to bring you a fresh and invigorating masculine scent. gaiaskinnaturals.com
A PAIR OF MAUI JIM WORLD CUP SUNNIES!
To go in the draw to win a pair of Maui Jim World Cup sunglasses (RRP $263.95) all you have to do is visit mauijim.com/world-cup and then email firstname.lastname@example.org telling us where the inspiration for the World Cup style came from (Tip: it’s on the product page). Entries close 30 April 2014, the winner will be contacted on 2 May 2014.
Don’t let water dampen your day. In everchanging conditions as a lifeguard you need a bag that you can rely on. Atka’s Drybags are the perfect solution for anyone who loves to be exposed to the elements. zenimports.com.au
SUNSCREEN Banana Boat
Banana Boat has just launched a new product in time for summer, the new Clear Spray SPF50+ in Sport and Ultra formulations. It goes on clear and dries fast, is non-greasy and sweat resistant. "Tested in the Australian Sun" Banana Boat sunscreens offer advanced sun protection to stay on in seven conditions: sun, sand, wind, sweat, pool, ocean and heat.
Shield your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays with Cancer Council’s high sun-protection factor (SPF30+ and over) and broadspectrum UVA and UVB protection. Available in various sizes including roll-on, tubes, sprays, pump packs and lip balms, Cancer Council sunscreen has a formulation to suit everybody's needs.
GET INTO GEAR GEAR & EQUIPMENT
Adidas Tycane Pro
Have trouble finding a suit that fits when you’re invited to that wedding? InStitchu is a website that lets you design and create a fully tailored, customised suit online. Prices are dramatically cheaper than tailored and even many of the off-the-rack options available in Australia, starting from $299.
The Tycane Pro introduces extreme wrap lenses with polarising filter and hydrophobic and oleophobic lenses that repel water for an obsticlefree view; there’s also a strap for a more secure fit on the head and a floater in case the sunglasses fall into the water.
SURVIVOR CATALYST WATERPROOF IPHONE 5/5S CASE
Ever wanted to get an underwater selfie? Well there's never been a better waterproof phone case for it. The Survivor Catalyst has installed camera and flash ports and is good for 3m for 30 minutes maintaining its full touch screen functionality. Use the code "FREESHIPOZ" to get free shipping.
Clif Bar, the number one energy bar in the US has now launched in Australia. Made with 70% organic ingredients, including wholesome ingredients such as oats, dried fruit, nuts and seeds – Clif Bar provides a steady increase in blood sugar levels and a gradual decline, not a crash, to keep you on top of your game.
JUSTICE Professional Sea Salt Spray
FUGU air furniture
The ultimate product for lifeguards, Sea Salt Spray effortlessly delivers a beachy tousled look with extra volume. The special paraben-free formulation helps prevent moisture loss to keep hair smooth and gives your waves a matte finish that still moves.
Add some style to your outdoor furniture with FUGU air furniture. Inspired by the name of a Japanese blowfish, which can expand and inflate to change appearance, you can even add LED lights to enhance your outdoor environment.
Cheeki's Insulated Water Bottle
Juice Pack PRO
Keep your water cold during those hot days at the beach with Cheeki’s "Keep it Colder for Longer" drink bottle. Suitable for hot and cold liquids, the double wall stainless steel vacuum insulated BPA-free drink bottle comes with screw lid and carabiner.
With a large, 2500mAh rechargeable battery complemented by a belt clip, rugged good looks and military-grade protection, the juice pack PRO is the perfect beach companion; adding up to 150% more power to your iPhone 4S/4.
The Great Aussie Swim Parka
Perfect for after your daily swim session, this halftowel, half-jacket will keep you warm and dry on the way home from the beach or pool – even keeping the car seat dry!
Whether for a day at the beach or for getting away in the morning for a few laps, these luxurious women's swim robes are an essential garment for water lovers. Includes a handy zip pocket for keys, coins and rings.
Surf Life saving Sunscreen
Bondi Lifeguard Sunscreen
Protection beyond the flags by the organization responsible for keeping Australian beaches safe for over 100 years. The sunscreen is completely free of nanoparticles and a portion of all sales will help fund important initiatives and gear for future Surf Life Saving programs.
The sunscreen that says if it’s good enough for Hoppo, Deano, Reidy and Maxi, then it's got to be good enough for the average Aussie beach-lover! Their range is designed to suit all skin types and every member of the family.
RECOGNITION AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE
t was glitz and glamour at SLSA’s 2013 Awards of Excellence where the country’s top lifeguard was crowned. Tim Daymond of the Australian Lifeguard Service in NSW was awarded DHL Lifeguard of the Year at Surf Life Saving Australia’s 2013 Awards of Excellence. Daymond was thrilled to have received the award. “To see my name alongside some of the other names on the board is pretty surreal. It really is an honour to be recognised by your fellow guards and Surf Life Saving.” Surf Life Saving Australia President Graham Ford paid tribute to all the award winners on the night.
ALL OF THE WINNERS HERE TONIGHT HAVE MADE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO SURF LIFE SAVING. “The Awards of Excellence is an excellent opportunity to honour those lifeguards, surf lifesavers, administrators, athletes, coaches and Surf Life Saving Clubs who work tirelessly to keep our beaches safe throughout the year. “All of the winners here tonight have made a significant contribution to Surf Life Saving, whether at a club, state or national level. I congratulate all of them for their dedication and hard work,” he said. Mr Nickolas Varvaris MP, Member for Barton represented the Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP at the event, addressing surf lifesavers, dignitaries and special guests. Tacking Point Surf Life Saving Club’s (SLSC) Ryan Rosenbaum (son of long-serving Port Macquarie-Hastings Council lifeguard manager Bob) won DHL Surf Lifesaver of the Year.
DHL lifeguard of the year finalists
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Jason Smith Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD Jason has served as a Lifeguard for over 20 years and exhibits excellent public relation skills, continuously talking with and providing advice to all beach visitors. He is committed to always having a beach presence and monitoring changing conditions to ensure his area is as safe as possible in addition to providing assistance to neighbouring beaches. Last year, he performed a double major rescue at a neighbouring beach last year.
Lachlan Peace Australian Lifeguard Service, VIC Lachlan directly contributed to the overall lowest rescue statistics for Gunnamatta (top three dangerous beaches in Australia) in the last 10 years despite increased visitation. Lachlan was newly appointed into the role of senior lifeguard, positively mentoring younger and less-experienced lifeguards and took on a greater leadership role within the regional lifeguarding team.
AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE RECOGNITION
DHL Lifeguard of the Year Timothy Daymond
imothy Daymond has been a professional Lifeguard with the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) for nine years but he has been in love with the beach for much longer. Ambulance transported him to hospital. The hospital later advised the ALS that the man had actually broken his neck but the spinal cord wasn’t severed due to the fast and professional response of the lifeguards and the paramedics. However, this was not the only serious incident Daymond was involved in.
growing up as a keen surfer, he was very familiar with the ocean from an early age. On 29 January huge 3m waves had forced the closure of Palm Beach but lifeguards were still on duty. They discovered an 18 year-old surfer floating face down in the surf and brought him to shore on the rescue board. The patient was not breathing and had no pulse, so one guard commenced CPR while the other and the Pittwater Lifeguard Supervisor administered the defibrillator and oxygen therapy. Growing up as a keen surfer, he was very familiar with the ocean from an early age. Daymond joined the Palm Beach SLSC in Year 12 and it was a natural progression to professional lifeguarding from there when he turned 18 in 2004. He’s seen some strange things during his time at the beach including seeing a whale wash into the Newport ocean pool and has found himself in some unusual situations such as running water safety for a nudist swim. But it was during the 2012/2013 season when he was faced with a number of major incidents that he was truly tested as a lifeguard. “While it’s always pretty busy to be Lifeguarding in Pittwater Council, I’ve never had a season quite as intense as this one,” said Daymond. Daymond was assigned as a "rotator" lifeguard this past season which meant he was constantly moving throughout the nine ALS patrolled beaches in Pittwater Council. It seemed that trouble followed him wherever he was assigned with some of the other guards nicknaming him the "Black Cloud". He dealt with four different spinal injuries including one major incident at Mona Vale Beach where a 63-year-old male was dumped by a wave in between the flags. The lifeguards (including Daymond) immobilised the patient, placed him in a spinal collar and administered oxygen therapy until the
Alex Daw Australian Lifeguard Service, SA Alex has been a highly valued member of the lifeguard service since 2009. During the past two years he has assumed senior roles and responsibilities including the coordination and conduct of lifeguard training, assessments, mentoring programs and inductions. Alex also completed his Certificate III Public Safety and Advanced First Aid this year.
Adam Smith Australian Lifeguard Service, WA Adam has been employed as a lifeguard for five years. Adam is currently completing his Certificate IV Training and Assessment to further assist his ability to train international and new lifeguards and to educate the public about coastal safety. Adam was part of a twoman patrol on Australia Day where there was in excess of 3000 visitors to the beach, some under the influence of alcohol. Many rescues and preventative actions were performed on this day avoiding major incident.
After a number of minutes the patient started breathing again and was monitored until the paramedics arrived. As was documented in the media earlier this year, the patient later made a full recovery in hospital. After his hectic season Daymond was awarded the DHL Australian Lifeguard of the Year at the Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in October. Tim’s fellow lifeguards and the NSW ALS Southern Coordinator, Phil Dunn, were full of praise for Daymond. “Tim handled himself professionally and was composed during a busy season for the Pittwater lifeguards. Tim deserves a lot of credit for the outstanding season he has had with the ALS and he wholeheartedly deserves all the accolades he’s received,” said Dunn.
Trevor Radburn Australian Lifeguard Service, NT Trevor Radburn is the Lifeguard Manager for the ALS in Darwin. The ALS delivers on two contracts, the Darwin Waterfront Lifeguard Service and the Mindil Beach Lifeguard Service. All lifeguards join the lifeguard service through an induction and mentoring program developed by Trevor. Trevor sits on the SLSA Lifeguard Advisory Committee and SLSA Gear and Equipment Committee. He proactively tests and assesses a range of new equipment
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Rescue of the Month
urf Life Saving has recently implemented a National Rescue of the Month program expanding on similar successful recognition programs currently being run by SLSNSW and SLSQ. Lifeguards provide an essential service to communities throughout Australia. Many exceptional rescues and first-aid actions performed each year are over and above normal duties and showcase excellence in lifesaving skills and procedures. The Rescue of the Month (ROM) recognises excellence in lifesaving and service delivery, measured against industry best practice and operating procedures. It does not encourage unnecessary risk or neglecting safety considerations and standard operating procedures.
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The program is designed to: 1. Increase the recognition and promotion of surf lifesavers, ALS lifeguards and support operations services after an incident; and 2. Increase the number of meritorious awards. Each state and territory will award a Rescue of the Month. The monthly winners will automatically be nominated for the National Rescue of the Month. The National Rescue of the Month will be awarded quarterly to recipients at Parliament House in Canberra. The Rescue of the Month is a separate recognition program to the SLSA Meritorious Awards. Australian Lifeguard Services, support operations services, clubs and members may nominate to both programs separately.
BOATING-RELATED COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS, 2004-2013 (n=138)
here were 138 boating-related coastal drowning deaths in Australia from 20042013 (nine years). This is an average of 15 boating related fatalities per year and a national average rate of 0.07 per 100,000 population. In 2012-13 there were 18 boating related fatalities at a rate of 0.08 per 100,000 population. Boating has consistently been the second leading activity associated with coastal drowning deaths after swimming and wading activities. Fatal boating activity varies in the states and territory. NSW, Qld, and Vic combined make up 60% of the boating fatalities since 2004.
One of the recommended countermeasures to boating-related fatalities is the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs). Currently PFD legislation is state based and varies according to each state. Surf Life Saving Australia collaborates with the Australian New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG) to develop educational interventions to increase the wear rate of lifejackets. Representing the key stakeholders in recreational boating safety across Australia and New Zealand, ANZSBEG is an excellent example of crossjurisdictional collaboration establishing consistency in educational key messages such as the International Lifejacket Principles initiative.
2.9% 10.9% 23.9%
New South Wales Queensland Victoria Tasmania South Australia Western Australia Northern Territory
Boating-related Coastal Drowning Deaths, 2004-2013 (n=138)
Source: SLSA 2013 National Coastal Safety Report
PROFILE PETER GEAL
Peter Geal International Lifeguard
eter Geal, 26, traded in his desk job in the UK to become an international lifeguard. Now he travels the world working some of the best beaches in the world and enjoying a nomadic ocean lifestyle. Peter shares his story with LIFEGUARD.
I grew up in Cornwall, a peninsula surrounded by the ocean in the south-west of the UK. With plenty of coastline there are loads of surf options throughout the year. It’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in England, so the beaches are packed in the summer, which keeps the lifeguards busy! Growing up on the rugged Cornish coastline has instilled in me a passion for the ocean and wild places. Conversely, spending cold, damp and dark winters in Cornwall has given me the drive to get on the road and explore new places. Throughout, surfing has always been a consistent driving force in my life.
LIFEGUARD'S TIPS FOR WORKING ABROAD • Research all the opportunities to get a good idea of what’s out there • Talk to someone who has been and done what you’re thinking of doing. • Get to know the country you are about to visit beforehand, it’ll help you settle in. • Make sure you tag on some travel before or after (or both!) your work to really appreciate the country. • Don’t expect the service you work for to be the same as where you work now, you will have to adjust to the working culture of your new service. • Feel free to offer advice from your own experience, but don’t act like a know-it-all. • Remember you are representing Australia, so acting professionally is a must. • Enjoy every minute of your adventure, make new friends and build industry relationships which will last forever.
International lifeguard opportunities in brief
After my contract was up, I went travelling and wanted a way to sustain a surfing lifestyle, lifeguarding seemed like the most logical conclusion at the time and I haven’t looked back. I started lifeguarding with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in the Restormel district in Cornwall, UK. It's one of the busier areas, and includes the popular coastal resort of Newquay. It was the first town in the UK to have lifeguards, and has had a long history of Australian guards coming over to work there, which gives it a strong international feel. The beaches can get upwards of 2,000 people in peak season, so we have our work cut out for us. I’ve also spent the past three Australian summers working in south-west Australia, for the Australian Lifeguard Service. It’s a relatively new service that has seen a lot of change and expansion over the past few seasons. It’s been great to be involved in the opening of patrolled beaches and I’ve been incredibly lucky to live and work in such a beautiful place.
[Operators] The main operator is the Royal National Lifeboat Association (RNLI).
[Operators] Various lifeguard agencies.
[Operators] Surf Life Saving Denmark (or TrygFonden KystLivredning).
[Season] Early May to late September. [Applications] International lifeguards apply for jobs the same as locals. Online application process. [More info] rnli.org.uk
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I didn’t start lifeguarding until I was 22, after going down the university route I spent some time working at a local university and design agency. The work was interesting but I found the whole office scene, with its water cooler gossip and weekend dreaming, a tad stifling.
[Season] Some all year round. Main season May to September. [Applications] You will need to contact the lifeguard agency independently for more information. [More info] usla.org
[Season] June to August. [Applications] Contact Surf Life Saving Denmark for more information. [More info] svoem.dk
PETER GEAL PROFILE
Surf Life Saving WA has a great exchange scheme, which has meant that the service over here comprises a diverse mix of guards from around the world. Being able work with a mix of guards opens your eyes to new skills and different ways of doing things. In addition to working in Australia and the UK, I was able to get a sabbatical from the UK season to work in Japan as a lifeguard. I worked six weeks straight, on packed beaches, so it definitely wasn’t a holiday but was a fantastic opportunity to live and work in a new country. Plus, there is nothing like a cold Asahi beer and sushi after a day on the beach.
I think there is a certain charm and beauty in the fleeting nature of the English summer. I’ve enjoyed everywhere I’ve worked, and been fortunate to meet some great people along the way. I think there is a certain charm and beauty in the fleeting nature of the English summer. Personally nothing can beat those rare, long sunny days in early summer with crisp waves and light offshores before the crowds have arrived. Being able to surf on your lunch break is a big bonus too! I feel incredibly fortunate to work in a job where we spend lots of time with a real mix of characters. I think that taking the time to learn and find out about others' experiences, whether they be lifeguarding or life experiences, is one of the coolest things about lifeguarding. Invariably it is through others' travelling experiences and contacts that new opportunities arise. I’ve always got my ears to the ground for new opportunities. Fortunately the nature of the northern and southern hemisphere seasons means that the shoulder seasons always allow for some travelling time between work and it has never been a tight schedule from one to the next. I’m not sure where my journey is taking me next, but you can be assured it’ll be any beach where the sun is shining, the coffees are strong and the waves are pumping!
ONE ON ONE Were you nervous coming to lifeguard in Australia?
Being the birthplace of lifeguarding and being such an iconic Australian career I was definitely nervous before coming here as a Pom, but have always felt welcome on the beaches. Did you notice a difference in lifeguarding here?
Busy beaches back home are generally covered with teams of up to five guards, so coming here and working in pairs means that you are directly involved in any incident on the beach, which gives it a certain intensity. Has being an international lifeguard changed your approach to the job?
Working for a number of different services has enabled me to take a more pragmatic approach to guarding and I hope it has made me a more rounded lifeguard.
[Operators] Private organisations are contracted to councils.
[Operators] Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ).
[Season] July until the end of August. As you move further down the coast the season goes for longer.
[Season] November to February. Mainly during school holidays.
[Operators] The Broome service is operated by the Broome City Council, NT by Surf Life Saving NT, and Far North Qld by the Australian Lifeguard Service (Qld).
[Operators] There are a few operators, but the main ones are CCUSA and IEP.
[Applications] The best way to work in Japan is through the many exchanges between Australian surf clubs and councils, or through private organisations. [More info] jla.gr.jp (translate), or David Hill email@example.com
[Applications] Watch for applications on the website being called for in spring. [More info] surflifesaving.org.nz
[Season] March through to September. [Applications] Broome: through council. NT and FNQ: Australian Lifeguard Service.
[Season] June through to August. [Applications] Through the agencies. [More info] ccusa.com.au and iep.org.au
[More info] broome.wa.gov.au and lifeguards.com.au lifeguard magazine 51
INTERNATIONAL SAVING LIVES IN ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Saving Lives in Asia & THE Pacific
SLSA’s International Development Program to reduce drowning in developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region has grown stronger than ever over the past 12 months.
MIDDLE EAST SLSA training is being delivered in countries in the Middle East through licensed provider AISS. SLSA has also been advising the Abu Dhabi lifeguards. Andre Slade assisted the Saudi Arabian Swimming Federation develop a five-year water safety strategy.
THAILAND SLSA has worked with the Phuket Lifeguard Club to implement a mobile lifesaving education unit. SLSA’s Tom Allen assisted with a review and up-skill of Phuket lifeguard training and operations.
SLSA’s Anthony Bradstreet and David Guest have been working with the Shenzhen Surfing Association on the introduction of surf safety and lifesaving.
SEYCHELLES Following a request from the Australian High Commission, SLSA provided some lifesaving equipment to support the lifeguards on the island of Praslin.
SLSA has been assisting the Rashtriya Life Saving Society India – RLSS (I) for 10 years. In November, surf coach James Harrison trained 15 new coaches in India SLSA is continuing to assist the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka (LSASL) to improve its lifesaving training and organisational development. (See article on page 54)
SLSA Trainer and NSW Central Coast Director of Education Greg Collins visited Mauritius to conduct surf lifesaver training and to advise on beach safety operations. SLSA also assisted with additional rescue and training equipment.
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In October 2012, Balawista Indonesia celebrated 40 years of lifesaving service in Bali. Balawista was formed in 1972 following a chance meeting on Kuta Beach between SLSA’s Kevin Weldon AM and Alan Whelpton AM.
SAVING LIVES IN ASIA & THE PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL
PHILIPPINES SLSA has continued to provide advice to the Philippine Lifesaving Society (PLS) on a range of surf safety and surf lifesaving activities.
VIETNAM SLSA is now an international non-governemt organisation (NGO) in Vietnam. Surf Life Saving Vietnam is being created with the help of expats and SLSAâ€™s Stephanie McGuinness. David Field will commence in Danang in February to further develop lifesaving in Vietnam.
Brunei SLSAâ€™s Chris Jacobson presented beach safety ideas at a conference in December 2013.
SLSA has developed a partnership with the Nauru Surf Club to introduce surf safety and lifesaving into Nauru. In April 2013, SLSA signed a contract with The Salvation Army to deliver a Lifesaving Service in Nauru for the transferees/refugees.
SLSA continues to work with the Fiji Surfing Association to introduce surf lifesaving education and training into Fiji. In addition, SLSA continues to support the fledgling Water Safety Council of Fiji which in 2013 included design of the 2012 Fiji drowning report.
SLS Tasmania has been providing valuable surf lifesaving training assistance since the 2009 tsunami devastated parts of Samoa. In 2013, the newly established Samoa Surf Life Saving conducted its second annual lifesaving championships.
VANUATU During 2013, SLSA Coach and Officials Trainer Jeff Mowbray conducted sports-related training to more than 40 members of the Life Saving Society of Malaysia in Penang.
Under the leadership of SLSA AVID volunteer Martin Wilke and with the support of a number of local groups and individuals, the Vanuatu Surf Life Saving Association has been established.
COOK ISLANDS Towards the middle of 2013, SLSA commenced assistance to the recently formed Cook Islands Water Safety and Surf Lifesaving Inc.
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INTERNATIONAL Repackaging THE SRI LANKAN COAST
Repackaging the SrI Lankan coast
ontinuing on Australia’s generous support of lifeguard services within the Pacific, Michael Kenny visited Sri Lanka on behalf of SLSA to train up new lifeguards in the Sri Lankan Coast Guard. Sri Lanka has long been a popular tourist destination and was one of the worst hit countries in the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.
These days, tourists wanting to visit this island paradise are arriving in droves where the majority spend some time enjoying the beach. Unfortunately, tourists make up a proportion of the 1200 people who drown in Sri Lanka every year.
to experience a new culture and see a different part of the world, and Michael says he was treated like a rock star.
THEY EMBRACED NEW IDEAS AND IMPLEMENTED THE PRACTICES TO THEIR BEST ABILITY ON ALL OCCASIONS.
“Thank you to SLSA for this wonderful opportunity. I have truly learnt so much, particularly in the areas of humanity and teamwork, ‘Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean’.”
Realising the need for proper training in lifesaving, the Sri Lankan Coast Guard conducted a comprehensive course in 2009 to train security forces personnel involved in disaster management in the country. In 2013, the Director General of the Sri Lankan Coast Guard (SLCG) Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne visited Surf Life Saving Australia to forge a partnership that would result in SLS facilitator Michael Kenny heading over to the Coast Guard training facilities in Sri Lanka to run four Advanced Bronze Medallion Courses over a period of five weeks. To assist the SLCG’s role in expanding lifesaving activities, skills and knowledge, all members of the local coast guard took part in one of the four courses conducted and they were joined by members of the Sri Lankan Army, Navy and Air Force, ensuring that important lifesaving methods and standards were transferred to all security forces. Michael was especially impressed with the professionalism the new trainees showed during his time in Sri Lanka. “It’s hard to explain the level of enthusiasm these men have for this training. They embraced new ideas and implemented the practices to their best ability on all occasions. “They have truly been a pleasure to teach," he said. "One of the benefits of helping out in foreign countries is the opportunity
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“My hosts provided the most wonderful support and took care of me to a level that was above and beyond my imagination.
Michael reports that the SLCG lifeguards are already conducting lifesaving education programmes for school children in the coastal belt. In keeping with their motto "We Save Lives", the lifeguards will continue to keep a closer look at all those who step into the ocean and ensure they return safely to shore.
SECURITY FORCES BEACH PATROLS A BOOST FOR LOCALS AND TOURISM: Sri Lanka’s annual monsoonal rains cause major flooding and landslides in many parts of the country inflicting damage to life and property. Security forces personnel are kept on alert to face such emergencies, however, they are also now responsible for patrolling the beaches around the country. The SLCG comprises over 80 professional lifeguards deployed at key beach areas for the protection of locals as well as foreign tourists who are visiting the beaches. The presence of lifeguards at these beaches has given an assurance to the tourists, which in turn has assisted their tourism industry.
Australian OLYMPIC chef de mission heads up Capacity anD Capability team at SLSA
hef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Kitty Chiller, has joined SLSA as General Manager of Capacity and Capability.
Prior to joining SLSA in August 2013, Kitty was responsible for managing the federally funded Active After-School Communities program for the Australian Sports Commission, involving 3270 primary schools, leading a staff of 200 situated in 70+ offices around Australia. Kitty has significant domestic and international experience in highperformance sport (as an athlete, administrator and in the media), event leadership, education management and curriculum development, and direct liaison experience at a senior government level.
WE NEED TO PROVIDE FURTHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR LIFEGUARDS. As General Manager of Capacity and Capability, Kitty represents the interests of Coastal Safety, Sport, Education, Development and Research on the SLSA Executive and also to the EMG and SLSA Board, and ensures the portfolio operates in an efficient and effective manner. Of the opportunities and challenges for the lifeguard community, Kitty says "We need to provide further professional development opportunities for lifeguards to ensure Australia continues to have the highest quality lifeguards on the beach. Additionally, through professional development they will retain and/or gain important knowledge through other roles such as communications, operations, supervisors, risk assessors and management."
CAPACITY AND CAPABILITY PORTFOLIO TO BRING EFFICIENCY TO SLSA: A recent restructure at SLSA saw the creation of a capacity and capability portfolio to bring together the three previously separate departments of Lifesaving, Sport and Development. This year a fourth pillar has been added to the CC portfolio—Education, while Research will also move into CC from Strategic Development. Kitty Chiller joined SLSA as General Manager of Capacity and Capability in August 2013. The newly named Coastal Safety Department – that sits under the CC portfolio – will continue to oversee all lifesaving operations as well as broader drowning prevention activities such as education requirements, and also public safety resources and projects. Coastal Safety is at the core of SLSA’s existence. Under the guidance of newly appointed manager, Anthony Bradstreet, the department will be very busy in 2014, with among many other projects, the Water Safety Policy review, Total Service Plan and PPE testing all identified as priorities.
LIFEGUARD SNIPPETS 17% reduction in NZ drownings Water Safety NZ released their 2013 drowning statistics – which showed a 17% drop in drowning deaths (81 down from 98) from 2012. Whilst this is overall good news for the Kiwis, those drowning at beaches only dropped by 9.5% (19 down from 21) and increased as a proportion of total drownings from 21% to 23% to remain as the single biggest aquatic risk.
Is this the world's most crowded beach?
Wollongong lifeguards fastest
he 2013 Bondi Beach Professional Ocean Lifeguard Team Challenge was won by Wollongong City Council lifeguard service. The eight-member team, made up of Luke Mittwollen, Dillon Ruiz, Mark Norris, Chanan Clark, Benjamin Griffiths, Nicholas Squiers, Beau Wheeler and Mackenzie Hynard — competed against council teams from across NSW in the annual challenge. The popular event drew a big crowd at Bondi, though the host team could not match the lads from the Gong. "It’s great to challenge your skills against lifeguards from other councils and it’s always good to have a win — especially against the boys from Bondi!” said Mr Norris, 40. WCC beach services coordinator Jason Foye said the event showcased the different skills needed by council lifeguards.
NSW looking at compulsory lifejackets for rock fishermen The NSW Government Ministry for Police and Emergency Services have been developing their responses to the recommendations provided by SLSA in the Research Review of Rock Fishing in NSW. A discussion paper seeking community views on a range of options relating to lifejacket use while rock fishing has also been released and feedback is currently being assessed.
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The last-minute change of venue for the final weekend events of the Roman Catholic Pope's visit to Rio de Janeiro resulted in a 4km stretch of area receiving 3 million people at once. Extra lifeguards were immediately called in and 106 rescues were done in one day.
Waverley Council get new towers
ortable lifeguard towers, similar to those found in Florida and California, have been installed at Bondi and Bronte beaches. Two white fibreglass towers, worth $25,000 each, are in place at the northern ends of Bondi and Bronte beaches.
The towers are fitted with first aid kits, oxygen and defibrillators, and can be moved according to conditions and events. Head lifeguard Bruce Hopkins said they’ve been great as an outpost for lifeguards on busy days. “The guys like them, they’re a great way to get close to the action but also provide protection from the elements,” he said. “They’re also fully wired up so they can be set up at a later date with electronic gear which is powered by solar panels on the roof.”
IRAN DEVELOPS SEA RESCUE DRONE iSwimband not such a cool way to keep kids safe
n American company has developed an extralayer of protection for parents monitoring multiple kids in the pool – but it’s got all the hallmarks of giving parents a false sense of security. iSwimband uses Bluetooth 4.0 to communicate with an iPhone to alert parents when a swimmer has been submerged too long. The plastic band wraps around a child’s head and with its accompanying iPhone app, parents set the time for how long their child should be underwater. If the child passes out and goes under for too long, the iSwimband app will start playing a loud alert so they can be rescued.
Iranian engineers have tested a drone designed to rescue people at risk of drowning.
Things that kill more people than sharks This infographic has been doing the rounds on social media this summer to highlight the "real" impact sharks have on annual deaths compared to other ways people die. Source: The Meta Picture.com
The Pars robot has eight propellers and can carry up to three life rings which it can drop within arms-length of potential victims. The project's engineers said they were able to reach targets more quickly than a lifeguard in tests carried out near the shore of the Caspian Sea. But they said more time and funds would be needed to carry out real rescues.
The iSwimband sells for US$150, but it will only be available in US during it’s initial launch in April, with a wider release planned for May.
WA establish shark "kill zones" Following the sixth fatal attack off the WA coast in two years, the Western Australia Government announced tougher measures aimed at preventing attacks, but denied it was a cull. Professional shark hunters will be paid to patrol WA waters, with a licence to kill any shark bigger than 3m spotted in designated zones spanning large parts of the metropolitan and south-west coastline. And baited hooks will also be placed along the coast to catch sharks, with a larger strike team ready to scramble into action in the event of an attack. Premier Colin Barnett said he knew the measures were controversial but refused to acknowledge he was sanctioning a cull. Shark academic Christopher Neff, from the University of Sydney, disagreed. "This is a tool that is used to kill sharks and to reduce populations - that is by definition culling," Mr Neff said.
Sharks Tweeting Their Presence in Australia
arge sharks off Western Australia are now doing their part to keep surfers and swimmers safe – by sending tweets warning of their presence.
Scientists have fitted 320 sharks, many of them great whites, with transmitters that automatically issue warnings to the Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s Twitter feed when the tagged sharks approach within a kilometre of the coast’s popular beaches.
Study pinpoints arrival of deadly stingers Swimmers could be warned a week in advance of the arrival of deadly Irukandji stingers after researchers found a way to pinpoint when the jellyfish would arrive at a certain spot. Queensland CSIRO scientists studied wind and water current patterns for the past 30 years to create a forecasting system to predict the arrival of the stingers. During the summer they successfully tested the method at Palm Cove, north of Cairns, where Irukandji stingers were discovered in the 1940s. CSIRO Wealth from Oceans research scientist Lisa Gershwin says if tests in other areas are successful the method could be used to warn swimmers against going in the water.
"It is an unfortunate policy." lifeguard magazine 57
Lifeguards vie for most beautiful Lifeguards Anthony "Harries" Carroll (Waverley), Hayden Quinn (Warringah) and lifesaver and Ironman champion Ky Hurst joined a star-studded line-up including Luke Jacobz of X-Factor, House Husbands’ Firass Dirani, Dancing with the Stars’ Carmelo Pizzino, and Manly NRL winger, David "Wolfman" Williams in the final of the Celebrity Men’s Health Man competition in December. The competition was won by Australian Wallaby player Adam Ashley-Cooper. Carroll, who had given himself the best odds of taking out the competition, was unable to be contacted for comment, with his manager saying he was still too distraught to speak publicly.
Ironman Ky Hurst and Waverley Council lifeguard Anthony "Harries" Carroll at the Celebrity Men’s Health Man competition final
DROWNING PROMPTS PETITION TO NSW COUNCIL A Sydney council is being petitioned to improve beach safety following the drowning of a young boy in January at Dolls Point Beach in Rockdale, in southern Sydney. Locals are calling on Rockdale City Council to close the beach and erect warning signs, with more than 4,000 people signing a petition on change.org. In a statement released on facebook, the council said there had been constant changes to the beach through erosion and sand build-up along the 8.2km of beachfront on Botany Bay since the construction of the third runway at Sydney Airport. "The shifting sand has worsened since the expansion of Port Botany and the construction of the desalination plant and its associated pipelines that run across the bed of the bay," the statement said.
Kingscliff trial lifeguards keeping busy Seaside fun has been a safer this summer at Kingscliff, NSW, with a lifeguard trial keeping an eye out for locals and tourists alike. Northern NSW ALS lifeguard coordinator Scott McCartney said they've seen strong crowds every day since the trial commenced. Mr McCartney said the lifeguard service is much-needed in North Kingscliff, especially over summer when neighbouring holiday parks are full to the brim with holiday makers. Mr McCartney said he hopes the trial — a joint venture between the ALS NSW and Tweed Shire Council — could evolve into a more permanent agreement, at least for the Christmas period. "The council does a great job of keeping the Tweed Coast patrolled," Mr McCartney said. "But there's always limited funding." Mr McCartney said they would be taking the statistics to council when the trial finishes in a week and a half.
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Eco-friendly shark nets to be installed at Coogee Beach
estern Australia has announced that its first shark net will be installed at Coogee Beach after the City of Cockburn approved a trial recently. But this isn’t just any shark net, these are eco-friendly Shark Exclusion Nets.
The council which has debated two other shark net proposals in previous years, granted approval to the plan put forward by WA company Eco-Barriers Pty Ltd. It is understood the nets consist of tens of thousands small floating modules made of nylon, with 13,000 interlocking pieces creating an underwater plastic wall. A combination of pylons, anchors, ropes and floats would be used to secure the formed plastic barrier in place. Coogee Beach has been selected as the preferred site for the trial despite there being no attacks at the beach since records began in the 1800s.
Jellyfish make pigs glow in the dark for science
Richard Branson tweets praise for WA's Shark Monitoring Network
Couple invents swim aid
to save lives
atrick Glivar and his wife Meredith have developed a new swim aid called the Rip Rescue. The name packs a triple punch. It utilizes a rip cord to take the R.I.P. out of rips.
Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has weighed into the shark debate by tweeting praise for WA's shark tagging alert system. Chinese scientists have unveiled a litter of glow-in-the-dark piglets. The team from South China Agricultural University were able to create 10 pigs that turn green under black fluorescent lights, thanks to a technique developed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Medicine. The method sees animal embryos injected with DNA from a jellyfish, and was used to create the world's first glow-in-the-dark rabbits in Turkey earlier this year. The Turkish team is now working on a glowing sheep. But, all the fluorescent fauna isn't just for fun. The goal is to introduce beneficial genes into larger animals to create less costly and more efficient medicines.
In a tongue-in-cheek post, the self-declared thrillseeking billionaire posted today that he thought it was "brilliant" that sharks could "tweet" swimmers warnings when nearby via the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed. Surf Life Saving WA responded by thanking Mr Branson and inviting him to come on patrol when he was next in Perth. The colourful billionaire replied by tweeting: "@ slswa congratulations on your great work. Thanks for the offer, will try to find time when we're next in the area."
“The Rip Rescue is made for anyone seven and older swimming in the ocean, rivers and lakes,” said Patrick Glivar, 49, who lives in Temecula, California. “They’re great for cruise ships and fishermen.” The couple have sunk US$35,000 into the design, manufacture, patent and rollout of the 16.5 x 5cm bright red prepared pouch that swimmers wear belted and snapped around their waist, always on the left side where the rip cord protrudes. The device works in the same way as an airline lifejacket. A swimmer in trouble pulls the Rip Rescue’s emergency-quick pull tab from the bum bag. This activates a small metal cartridge filled with 16 grams of carbon dioxide that inflates an 45cm, bright yellow polyurethane floating bladder. Swimmers up to 113kg can clasp the device in front of them to stay buoyant, keeping their head above water as they await rescue.
Lifeguards prove their fitness in long swim There are easier ways to get from Stanwell Park to North Wollongong than swimming, yet 30 lifeguards from Wollongong hit the water to prove a point.
More visitors but less water-savvy Visitor numbers at Bondi have steadily increased over the past decade from 1.5 million a decade ago to 2.9 million last summer. The council's head lifeguard, Bruce Hopkins, said bathers at Bondi had become less water-savvy as tourism has boomed, and lifeguards must be more alert than ever. "It's a different demographic now. You get a lot of tourists now because it's so accessible to get to Australia whereas in the 1950s you had to come by boat. The swimming ability was better [then] than it is now," he said.
The 6½-hour, 26km, event was predominantly completed in relay format, with each lifeguard swimming for one hour before another took their spot in the water. Stanwell Park lifeguard Chanan Clark, 26, however, swam the entire way on his own, remaining in the ocean for nearly seven hours. Clark is no stranger to endurance events. He has paddled a kayak from Wollongong to Noosa. "The aim of the swim was to bring to the attention of the public the skills which a professional lifeguard holds," said APOLA special projects officer Ken Holloway.
5-7 May Australian and New Zealand Disaster Management Conference Gold Coast, QLD anzdmc.com.au May APOLA Conference Venue TBC apola.asn.au
9-11 May Spanish International Conference on Drowning Prevention, Lifesaving and Water Rescue – SICOD 2014 European University of Madrid, Spain firstname.lastname@example.org 22-24 June 3rd International Rip Current Symposium
14-29 September Rescue 2014, Lifesaving World Championships
23-25 October SLSA National Conference
ilsf.org 1-3 October RMIA 2014 National Conference – Risk Management. Better Decisions. Better Outcomes.
Busan Paradise Hotel, Haeundea Beach Busan, South Korea
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane, QLD
21-28 October ILS World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2015 Penang, Malaysia ilsf.org
lifeguard magazine 59
For BRP, our SLS partnership extends beyond our endorsed supplier status.
DID YOU KNOW?
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In 2009, the BRP & SLS partnership was born & ever since we have been providing significant financial & product contributions. In addition, our Club Support Program assists all SLS clubs in upgrading their personal watercraft, side-by-side vehicles & outboards. Products are specifically factory configured to meet the unique rescue requirements of SLS. BRP is committed to the ‘Surf Life Saving’ movement. This commitment extends a whole lot further than our title as the official powercraft partner at the top of the endorsed supplier list.
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60 lifeguard magazine © 2013 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). ®, ™ and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates.
Australian Lifeguard Magazine is a bi-annual magazine about lifeguards for lifeguards.