Top End Lifeguard
In this issue 2015 LIFT SLSA NATIONAL COASTAL OUT SAFETY REPORT
RNLI Lifeguard Service DHL Lifeguard of the Year Shellharbour in the Spotlight Sharks in Perspective Cable Beach: Lifeguarding in Paradise
Issue 11 SUMMER 2016 sls.com.au/publications
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Cover Top End Lifeguard Isla McCaw enjoying another picture perfect day in Darwin, Northern Territory. Photo Trevor Radburn
24 4 Editorial 6 Keeping the Coast Safe 6 Switched On 8 Crocodile Management in the Tropics 10 Wet Season Patrol in the Top End 12 5 Minutes with Isla McCaw 13 Rip Currents Snapshot 14 Sharks in Perspective 16 Changing Attitudes to Sharks on Australian Beaches 19 Strength in Numbers
20 Advanced Lifesaving Camp 21 Seadoo Spark 21 The Seabob 22 On the Lookout 23 Cable Beach:
Lifeguarding in Paradise 24 In the Spotlight: Shellharbour City Council Beach Lifeguard Service 26 Ruling the Waves 28 Boating Snapshot 29 SUPs on Trial 30 Keeping Your Head Above Water 31 National Coastal Safety Report 2015 (lift-out) 35 Drowning: A Neglected Global Killer 36 Surviving the Big Chill 38 Risk Perception and Behavioural Insights 40 Gymnastic Strength Training 43 Drowning: Cutting-edge Research to Influence High-risk Groups 44 Rock Fishing Snapshot
45 TrygFonden Livredder Service 46 The Royal National Lifeboat Institution 48 Cardiac Arrest: 5 Steps to Survival 50 Lifeguards of Nauru 52 Celebrating Excellence 54 Rescue Recognition 55 Online Lifeguard Reporting 56 Watch Your Mate’s
Back 57 Watercraft Snapshot
58 The Disabled
Surfers Association of Australia 59 Rescues on the High Seas 60 Lifeguard Snippets
Publisher Surf Life Saving Australia, Locked Bag 1010, Rosebery NSW 2018, (02) 9215 8000 Project Manager Sarah Anderson. Commissioning Editor Selena Quintrell. Proofreader John Mapps. Designer Kylie Mulquin. Contributors Sarah Anderson, Shaun Anderson, Gary Blaschke, Craig Bowley, Ric Cockman, Mitchell Copas, Peter Dawes, Mairéad Dwane, Declan Etheridge, Jason Foy, Olivia Harvey, Peter Hopkins, Grant Hudson, Teresa Kay, LSV, Neal Moodie, Dr Christopher Neff, Luke Plant, Trevor Radburn, Selena Quintrell, SLSNSW, SLSNT, SLSQ, SLST, SLSWA. Image Credits Adobe Stock, William Boyle, Bureau of Meteorology, Declan Etheridge, DSAA, iStockphoto, LSV, Isla McCaw, Marine and Safety Tasmania, Leanne Moore, Northern Territory Government, Trevor Radburn, RNLI/Chris Speers, Selena Quintrell, Shellharbour City Council, Shire of Broome Council, Shutterstock, SLSA, SLSNSW, SLSNT, SLSQ, SLSWA, Ivan Webb, Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, WikiCommons, Wollongong City Council. Our best endeavours have been made to credit the owners of the photos. Advertising Sarah Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org Australian Lifeguard Magazine 3
4 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
Grant Hudson, Guest Editor I think I’m a pretty lucky person. I grew up in Lake Cathie, a small town on the Mid-North New South Wales coast. All my friends were surfers, my brother was a surfer, and my father was (and still is) a great surfer—not to mention a multiple Australian and NSW champion, and NSW head coach! So, I guess my surf knowledge is a product of my environment. There would not have been a day go by without my dad, or one of his surfing buddies, giving me advice. Lake Cathie may have been a small town but in reality it was a large family. The surf was my life and my parents made sure I learned to be a competent swimmer when I was young. What followed were years of swimming and competing. My swim coach, Larry Brook, was involved with Port Macquarie SLSC, so swim squad led to nippers, and eventually I had to make a choice—swimming or surfing— surfing won! I travelled the world competing and freesurfing, living a life that was sometimes surreal, but with two operations before I was 21, I knew it was a career that would be short-lived. In 2005, I started a national coaching role with Surfing Australia, which took me to four world title events, winning ‘team gold’ three times. I worked with some truly great coaches and athletes from around Australia—some of them still competing on the world stage today. I also started as a casual lifeguard for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council in 2005, and immediately found out I didn’t know a thing about lifeguarding! The idea of working in small teams, having enormous responsibility, and preventing incidents, completely threw
me. I knew the surf, I was surf fit, and I had been a volunteer surf lifesaver for years, but nothing prepared me for watching beachgoers, preventing incidents, and rescuing people in two-man teams, on packed beaches, for 8.5-hour shifts. Thankfully, I had excellent mentors: Larry, my old swim coach, who was also a lifeguard, and lifeguard coordinator, Jamie Martin, who was easygoing, supportive, and a great talker and listener. After a few years of casual lifeguarding, I moved into a seasonal position and finally became the lifeguard service coordinator. My position may change but my approach never will: work hard at building a strong foundation of basic skills, and always have fun! Be alert, be approachable, be friendly, and be fit. Know the conditions, know how they’ll change, know your strengths and your weaknesses, communicate with your partner and expect the unexpected—a simple rule is ‘never assume’. Treat everyone openly, with respect, and never make judgments of others. Remember, the role of a lifeguard is to keep the public safe—it is a massive responsibility and when it’s just you, your partner and 5,000 beachgoers, you can’t let small things be a distraction. My passion for helping people began with lifeguarding, and it appears I enjoyed the responsibility as I am now working for NSW Ambulance as a trainee paramedic. I have a wonderful family, four children and a beautiful wife. I really do think I’ve been very lucky, and I have learned so much, and still have so much to learn. If you make each day a new challenge you will always be rewarded. Get out there and have fun.
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 5
Keeping the coast safe Wollongong taking steps to reduce the risks on the beach Jason Foye, Beach Services Coordinator, Wollongong city Council
ollongong, the gateway to the South Coast of New South Wales (NSW) is one of Australia’s most liveable regional cities. Located just south of Sydney, the city is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the dramatic Illawarra escarpment. Boasting 42km of coastline with a multi-cultural and diverse population of more than 250,000 people, it is celebrated for its unique culture and beach lifestyle.
The digital radio network supporting lifeguards across NSW
he state operations centre based at Surf Life Saving NSW headquarters is rapidly becoming an important communication hub for all emergency assets across New South Wales.
As part of the vast network of support operation facilities handling coastal emergencies, the centre is positioned as an integral tool to coordinate communications from Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) lifeguards, lifesavers, police and ambulance workers, and more recently, council lifeguards. 6 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
Arguably the city’s greatest attraction is its beaches, from Stanwell Park in the north, to Windang in the south. The popularity of the region is reflected in the high visitation to its patrolled beaches by residents, visitors from south-west Sydney, and tourists from around the country and the world. Wollongong City Council’s Lifeguard Service (which celebrated 100 years of service in 2012) covers 17 patrolled beaches, with a further 10 beaches managed, but without safe designated swimming areas—these beaches are either within close proximity to a patrolled beach or isolated by rock headlands. In 2012, Australian CoastSafe’s Adam Weir approached Wollongong City Council with the offer of providing a coastal public risk assessment across its beaches using funding from the New South
Randwick City Council—responsible for some of the Sydney metropolitan area’s busiest beaches—has found that communicating with the state operations centre has assisted lifeguards to perform their duties, especially when an ambulance is required. “We do a courtesy radio call in the morning and again in the evening to let the state operations centre know we are out there, but it has been really beneficial for us to be able to radio through to the centre for ambulances rather than us having to do it from the scene,” Senior Lifeguard Peter Halcro said. “It makes coordination a lot easier, and frees up a lifeguard to go and assist with immediate first aid and do the job they’re trained to do.” Wollongong lifeguards have also seen the benefits of linking with the network in an unofficial capacity. “The advantage for us communicating through the radio system is that it maximises the effectiveness of our assets. It helps us know where to put them, and how to appropriately use them,” Wollongong City Council Beach Services Coordinator, Jason Foye, said.
Wales Government. The council welcomed the offer, which provided a methodical, structured, risk-based approach of assessment to support its forward approach and decision making across the city’s foreshore areas. The assessments identified all associated hazards and risks to patrons at each location, and incorporated council’s own corporate risk ranking tool to provide a structured and compelling risk management approach to enhance the ongoing operations of its beaches. The process also evaluated the existing approach, and provided recommendations for additional control measures. This vital information then formed part of an action plan that was developed to treat each risk at each location. The key to the success of this project was the consultative approach that was applied by Adam and his team with the lifeguards and input from Surf Life Saving. The report provided 19 key recommendations that have now formed part of the council’s business plans, and helped to guide the allocation of operational and capital funding. Some of these included enhancing signage and consolidation of beach access points, introduction of emergency rescue beacons, broadening its surf education programs, and utilising technology such as QR codes. The CoastSafe report data has also been incorporated throughout the implementation of a variety of other council strategies, such as the 2014 Wollongong City Council Dune Management Strategy. This strategy provides a clear scope on appropriate plant species to allow clear lines of sight from patrol towers and surf clubs. It has
also driven significant capital investment into the reshaping of dunes and installation of towers at a number of patrolled beaches to improve surveillance to remote areas and reduce the likelihood of incidents associated with beach scarping. The council has invested in its lifeguard service, enabling enhanced mobility with state-of-the-art equipment such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and jet skis. As well, we have expanded our surf education programs with the University of Wollongong, schools and migrant groups—which have become highly valued by the local community. The CoastSafe report plays a key role in the council’s ongoing endeavours to make its beaches safer for the 1.2 million patrons who enjoy them each year.
“By routing calls through the radio system a huge plus is that all our staff can hear the call in real time, and can prepare accordingly. “Obviously when you are dealing with a rescue situation time is of the essence so to have people able to hear things as they happen is a huge positive,” he said. A key advantage of having a centralised communications hub is that all of the state’s emergency responders know where coastal assets are at any given time, allowing them to be positioned quickly in the event of an emergency. As the digital radio system continues to grow with the development of new technology, lifeguards everywhere will continue to see the benefits of being part of an integrated network.
“When you are dealing with a rescue situation time is of the essence so to have people able to hear things as they happen is a huge positive.” Australian Lifeguard Magazine 7
Crocodile Management in the Tropics
North and Far North Queensland lifeguard services
veryone who lives in North Queensland is able to enjoy the tropical lifestyle— excellent weather throughout the year, the Great Barrier Reef at the doorstep, along with access to a vast natural marine habitat and an amazing array of wildlife. They have also learnt that living in the tropical north can pose its own risks with dangerous marine animals also inhabiting the local waterways and beaches.
Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has stringent guidelines to manage crocodile notification incidents—with the top priority being safety to the public, and their members. To do this, they remain up-to-date and informed on current practices while maintaining a solid relationship with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP)—as they are the experts in the field of crocodile management. The following process is currently in place upon notification of a crocodile:
• Confirmation of a crocodile sighting in an area of public beach access will instigate beach closure and signage placement across all areas surrounding the sighting. SLSQ provide advice to the public to remain away from the water until such time as it is deemed safe or, at a minimum, four hours after the last reported sighting. • Notification to DEHP on 1300 130 372—this number is applicable across North Queensland for all crocodile sightings. DEHP will send
personnel to investigate and pass information to the lifeguard services and the local councils. • T he beach will remain closed until the lifeguard services can confirm there is no danger evident. Signage noting ‘Crocodile sighted in this area’ will remain in place for up to nine days as a precautionary measure and for public awareness. • SLSQ encourage all members of the public to notify DEHP and/or the lifeguard services upon any sighting of a crocodile, as this will ensure quick action. • SLSQ discourage any members of the public from hazing (using a motored vessel to try to relocate or scare the crocodile). DEHP will manage this process as hazing could cause the crocodile to settle below and avoid being seen or (the worst scenario) make the crocodile aggressive. • Zoning is in place across North and Far North Queensland, and any crocodile deemed a problem or aggressive requires DEHP direction and action, therefore should be reported immediately. At the end of the day, common sense should always be applied when it comes to beach and water safety. The marine animals of the tropical north live in the waterways and beaches and have always been there, however SLSQ risk management guidelines and established communications with DEHP will continue to help protect the public as much as possible.
“If you are in North or Far North Queensland and you see a crocodile, please report it to DEHP on 1300 130 372 and help us to help others.” Australian Lifeguard Magazine 9
Wet Season Patrol in the Top End
Keeping Darwin safe off season
he Northern Territory has the highest drowning rate per capita in Australia, and the wet season is the highest risk period, particularly December, January and February.
Following two coastal drownings in Darwin in early 2014, Surf Life Saving Northern Territory (SLSNT) conducted a weekend lifesaving service trial over a four-week period, with an Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) lifeguard employed to lead each beach patrol. The trial identified that the wet season is still popular with beachgoers in Darwin—particularly surfers, kite surfers, stand up paddle board (SUP) paddlers, recreational skiers/kayakers, and body boarders. “The wet season is our off season for Surf Life Saving but it’s the only time there’s surf at the beaches, so there are a lot of people out on the water. It’s also the season we get box jellyfish, so swimming really isn’t recommended,” explained Isla McCaw, SLSNT Lifeguard Supervisor and wet season patrol volunteer. Following the success of the trial, SLSNT extended the wet season lifesaving service for eight weeks through January and February 2015. “The patrol was a great way to get us out on the water, educate people and remind them of the dangers of being in the water at that time of year,” said McCaw. “As Darwin is a small town we were able to use the SLSNT vehicle and drive around to the beaches with a jet ski on the back, in case we needed to go out on the water. This made us very visible to the public,” she added.
The Minister for Parks and Wildlife unveiled a sign at Rapid Creek warning of the dangers of monsoonal coastal waters following the drowning death last year.
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There were more than 15 incidents of parents playing with small children in the shallows not knowing the dangers of box jellyfish, and on six occasions parents were urged to remove their children from the water as box jellyfish were located within 10m of where they were playing. Anyone not wearing stinger protective apparel was advised of the dangers and where they could obtain correct apparel. Parks and Wildlife NT were contacted at the start of the each patrol to get updates on possible crocodile sightings, and to let them know there was a patrol in the area. There were two evacuations due to saltwater crocodile sightings, which resulted in a total of 50 people being evacuated off the water on four beaches around the Nightcliff and Casuarina area. The wet season lifesaving service was successful and the public appeared thankful, and went out of their way to thank the lifesavers and lifeguards for helping promote and demonstrate safe aquatic practices and for the information provided. “The public really seemed to appreciate seeing us on patrol, especially in an area called ‘Kite Corner’ where the SUP paddlers practise as there is a good swell,” McCaw reported.
Wet Season Code of Conduct 1 Be crocwise 2 Wear stinger protective clothing 3 Don’t surf, paddle or go boating alone 4 Keep children out of the sea
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 11
5 minutes with…
Isla McCaw unconscious man—he was blue with no signs of life. Our senior lifeguards arrived and took control of the situation, performed CPR until the ambulance arrived and they took over. The man died that day from a major heart attack. The experience reinforced to me how important my job as a lifeguard is. It also made me aware of how important it is to stay alert and in control in all situations. Describe one of your favourite experiences as a lifeguard. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go to Singapore on a lifeguard exchange. I spent 10 days in Singapore working with the Singapore Life Saving Society, seeing how they run their service and helping out with judging their swimming events. The people were amazing and it was such a great experience working with a different culture with the same aim—to make it safe for people around the water. Why do you volunteer for the wet season patrols? Volunteer work is my way of giving back to the Darwin community and letting them know that the lifeguards are there all year even when the beaches are technically closed. What do you do when you aren’t lifeguarding? Flyboarding! I love the adrenalin rush!
sla McCaw is Lifeguard Supervisor for Surf Life Saving Northern Territory (SLSNT) at the Darwin Waterfront Lagoon, and during the ‘off season’ she’s still on the job, volunteering with the SLSNT wet season patrol. Where are you originally from? I’m one of the few lifeguards in Darwin who was actually born here. How did you get into lifeguarding? In 2008, I started Surf Life Saving as a sport, with Darwin Surf Life Saving Club. Then, as a cadet, I began working towards the qualifications I’d need to be a member of the local lifeguard service. In Year 11, I was fully qualified and started working as a lifeguard at the Darwin Waterfront, and I continued to work there after I finished school. What do you love about being a lifeguard? Working for SLSNT is like having a big extended family. We are all in it for the same reasons and are all willing to help each other out whenever possible. Jumping in to assist a member of the public and seeing their face once you help them is very rewarding. What lifeguarding experience has impacted you the most? I remember a week before my 18th birthday I was on duty alone, while other lifeguards were on rotation, and I heard a man yelling, “lifeguard”. I looked across to see members of the public pulling a man out of the water. He was unconscious. The adrenalin kicked in and all I remember is radioing for assistance, before attending the
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"Flyboarding! I love the adrenalin rush!"
R i p C u rr e n t s s n a p s h o t 2 0 0 4 –15
Analysis On average, at least 19 people drown per year as a result of rip currents. It’s the highest number of deaths for an individual hazard or activity.
Average deaths per year
Average Fatality Rate
per 100,000 population
8 Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
9% 1% Swimming/Wading Attempting a Rescue Watercraft Rock Fishing Rock/Cliff Related Diving Snorkelling Other
Australian residents, Australian-born and overseas-born
Contributing Factors 72%
Swimming at unpatrolled locations Attempting a rescue
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
Percentage of Population (%)
2014–15: NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN COASTAL SWIMMING 54%
52% 47% 38%
• 2.9 million frequent swimmers (at least once a month)
• Occasional swimmers average 7 hours per year
• 8.1 million swimmers
• Frequent swimmers average 48 hours per year
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey 2015
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 13
education & training
here are over 510 species of shark worldwide and around 182 of these have been found in Australian waters, but only a handful are known to be dangerous to humans.
The majority of fatal attacks in coastal waters are attributed to just three species: bull sharks, tiger sharks and great white sharks.
Great white shark
Bull shark Carcharhinus leucas (river whaler, freshwater whaler, Swan River whaler) Bull sharks have a short snout—wider than it is long. The underbelly is usually off-white, with grey top surface, and the eyes are small. Adults range from 2 to 3.5m in length and weigh up to 230kg. Their teeth are triangular, saw-edged and very sharp. In Australia, the bull shark can be found from the central NSW coast, across the northern coast to Perth, WA. This area extends south to Sydney during the warmer summer months. It is the only widely distributed shark that penetrates far into fresh water for extended periods where it sometimes breeds. Bull sharks eat almost anything, including fish, other sharks and rays, turtles, birds, molluscs, crustaceans and dolphins. It is a dangerous shark due to its aggressive nature, powerful jaws, broad diet, abundance, and its habitat preference for shallow, murky inshore waters.
Tiger sharks Galeocerdo cuvier Tiger sharks have tiger-like, striped markings on a dark, grey-brown back with an off-white underbelly. They can grow to around 6m but are, on average, about 3m. Their teeth are heavily saw-edged, cockscomb shaped, razor sharp, and are the same in both upper and lower jaws. In Australia, tiger sharks occur across northern Australia, and south to southern NSW and Perth, WA. It is one of the few sharks that is a true opportunistic scavenger, taking a wide range of prey, including fish, turtles, crabs, clams, mammals, sea birds, reptiles, other sharks and just about anything else they can catch alive, as well as a variety of inanimate flotsam. Their occurrence in shallow water, indiscriminate diet and large size make them one of the most dangerous sharks.
“Shark attacks are random events … There are many instances where sharks are in the same area as a human and they do not interact with them.”
education & training
Shark Attacks in Perspective
Great white shark Carcharodon carcharias (white pointer, white shark, white death) The underbelly of the great white shark is the only area that is actually white, the top surface of the shark is grey, blue/grey or bronze. The biggest recorded great white was 7m long and weighed 3,200kg. Their teeth are large, saw-edged and triangular.
Compared to injuries and fatalities from other forms of waterrelated activities, the number of shark attacks in Australia is very low. In the last 50 years there have been 47 unprovoked shark attack fatalities averaging just under one per year (0.94). There is an element of risk in any activity, and the risk of a person being injured or killed by a shark must be viewed in perspective.
Young great whites (under about 3.5m) eat mainly a variety of fish, rays and other sharks. Larger adults eat larger prey, including marine mammals such as sea lions and seals, small-toothed whales and otters. They also eat dead animals floating in the water.
“Shark attacks are random events—no shark knows when a human will enter the water so they can time an attack! There are many instances where sharks are in the same area as a human and they do not interact with them. Although random shark attacks can cluster (occurring in a particular area or over a time period) and may seem to many as an increasingly common event over time it is shown that the number of incidents at a location or time of the year vary from year to year and should be analysed over decades for trends.” John West, Australian Shark Attack File.
Great whites are a protected species in many Australian states, and also in several other countries.
Sources: NSW Department of Primary Industries; Australian Shark Attack File (ASAF), Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
In Australia, great white sharks have been recorded from central Queensland, around the southern coast to North West Cape, WA—however, they are more common in the south.
Unprovoked Cases (last 100 years only) as of December 2015 State # Cases Fatal Injured Uninjured Last Unprovoked Fatality NSW
Palm Island 2011
Mornington Peninsula 1987
TAS 9 1 5 3
Maria Island 2015
NT 8 1 6 1
Cobourg Peninsula 1934
Note: An ‘unprovoked’ encounter between a human and a shark is defined as an incident where a shark is in its natural habitat and has made a determined attempt to bite a human where that person is not engaged in provocative activities. Incidents classified as ‘provoked’ are not included in these statistics. Source: Australian Shark Attack File, Taronga Zoo, Sydney Australian Lifeguard Magazine 15
Changing Attitudes To Sharks On Australian Beaches
education & training
Dr Christopher Neff
here is a long history between sharks on the Australian coast and Surf Life Saving. This history, which is often tragic, continues to this day. However, over time, something has changed—the way the public perceives these terrible events. As far back as 1911, Surf Life Saving associations were relied upon to assist when assessing options for shark bite prevention. In a 1912 report of the ‘Surf Bathing Committee’, they considered the possibility of enclosures—an option considered during the recent New South Wales (NSW) Shark Summit. They stated: “Surfing beaches here are so numerous that the cost of the erection of such enclosures would be prohibitive; and it is also to be remembered that, even were such enclosures provided, the great majority of bathers would still prefer the open sea where the breakers come in without check.” Australia’s first high-profile shark fatality was an 18-year-old Coogee Surf Life Saving Club member, Milton Coughlin, during a beach carnival in February 1922. Shortly after, in March of that year (also in Coogee), Mervyn Gannon became the next fatality and a shark hunt was called for. More than 80,000 people flocked to Coogee to watch the shark hunt.
community survey Results We asked the interviewees if they considered shark bites to be ‘intentional’, ‘accidental’ or if they were ‘not sure’.
As a result, my colleague Tom Wynter and I put together a representative research survey (with a margin of error of 4.5%) of 500 people from the shires of Ballina and Byron Bay that included Lennox Head and surrounding communities. Conducted in the last week of September 2015, we asked the interviewees if they considered shark bites to be ‘intentional’, ‘accidental’ or if they were ‘not sure’.
It is the first time this question had been asked of Results: a community that had experienced such a terrible These terrible and eerie clusters of shark spate of incidents and their responses were quite • Accidental: 55% bites continued, with the then Surf Life Saving a surprise. Association of Australia playing a prominent role. • Intentional: 21% The results (left) suggest the public is sophisticated In 1925, the President of the Association, Charles • Don’t know: 24% about the way they look at the ocean environment Paterson, travelled to London “to consult with the and consider marine ecosystems with caution. British Admiralty about the effectiveness of nets for protecting surfers from sharks”. Surf Life I believe it is important because rethinking shark behaviour is Saving clubs came together in 1929 and 1935 to compile linked with rethinking the beach and recognising that it is a wild, reports following spates of fatal shark bites along the east coast ever-changing, ocean environment. of Australia—which resulted in the introduction of a 10 pound fine So what then does this mean for the future of shark bites, public that placed responsibility on swimmers who swam out too far; safety, and Surf Life Saving in Australia? Well, firstly it means that and shark nets (gill nets) being introduced along the NSW coast. each region and context is different and that should be considered. The recent 2014 and 2015 shark bites and shark fatalities in Ballina Western Australia is different from NSW or Queensland based on and Byron Bay present a similarly awful set of events: a cluster of different experiences. Having said that, the second thing that I hope shark bites in a relatively close area, in a short period of time, and it means is that the public is open to education. concern about what to do. In my research there is one particular The pervasive myths about shark behaviour, and the way responses variable that I think is important to the way the public looks at beach to shark bites work or do not work are two important issues that the safety—and that is whether the incident is an accident or intentional. public need to understand. I often say two things: “We need to treat If sharks are intentionally biting people then there are one set the beach like the bush”, and “We are in the way, not on the menu”. of responses that are likely (lethal ones), but if these are tragic These are easy ways to talk about complex problems. accidents, like fatal rip currents, jellyfish, or other beach hazards, State and local governments are responsible for shark management then their engagement with the topic and with beach safety in their jurisdictions. Surf Life Saving provides support through responses is very different. response to shark sightings and encounters as well as response plan development. What can change is how we frame the events to ensure the public considers their behaviour on the beach and in the ocean in ways that reduce risk.
“Rethinking shark behaviour is linked with rethinking the beach, and recognising that it is a wild, ever-changing, ocean environment.”
Dr Christopher Neff is a lecturer in Public Policy in the Department of Government and International Relations at The University of Sydney.
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 17
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This model was designed specifically for Manly council. This model actually sits in between the LG2 & LG3 in size. It has less thickness in it which makes it easier to ride. It is more stable than the LG2 model. This board is more suited to surfers who don’t have a SLS background and has a lot of bottom curve and is hard to nose dive.
All of our Lifeguard/Rescue Boards are made of Epoxy Resin Sandwich Foam construction for strength and longevity. Orders can be sent Online via our Website www.krackasurfcraft.com.au 18 Australian Lifeguard Magazine For more information please contact the office on 02 49426177
Strength in Numbers Tasmania’s volunteer marine rescue groups join forces with Surf Life Saving Tasmania
riginally, Tasmania’s seven marine rescue groups were a combination of Australian volunteer coast guard units as well as one standalone unit. They have now come together and affiliated with Surf Life Saving Tasmania (SLST) to form the Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) service.
have several more courses planned and expect to be able to offer another 40 positions on these courses leading up to 1 July 2016. As a flow-on effect of the groups joining SLST, there has been a crossover of SLST members into the ranks of the VMR. These members bring years of experience with them to assist in the development of the VMR units, while they receive valuable ‘offshore’ training and nationally recognised commercial qualifications.
With another 17 clubs and services located around the Tasmanian coastline, the VMR now provides frontline marine rescue services ranging from inland lakes and rivers, to beaches and offshore waters. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority introduced changes to national laws governing maritime operations and, as a result, volunteer marine rescue organisations across Australia must comply with the new laws surrounding the survey of vessels and crew competencies. SLST is represented on the National Volunteer Marine Search and Rescue Committee, and through its association have formed a partnership with Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland (VMRQ) to deliver nationally recognised training from the MAR20313 – Certificate II in Maritime Operations package – Elements of Shipboard Safety (ESS) through to Certificate II Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal. To date, almost 60 SLST members are qualified with ESS and a further 14 have progressed onto the Coxswain components. They Australian Lifeguard Magazine 19
Advanced Lifesaving Camp
Developing the next generation of lifesavers and lifeguards
n late September 2015, 52 lifesavers from across Victoria gathered to develop and refine their lifesaving and leadership skills at Life Saving Victoria’s Advanced Lifesaving Camp. The week-long program aims to equip participants with the skills and knowledge to become Gold Medallion lifesavers, and also provides the opportunity to become paid lifeguards. Over five days of training, candidates experience scenario-based learning in a number of settings. The classroom component refines the participants’ knowledge of what it takes to be excellent beach managers. Watching in-depth videos of rescues and first aid cases challenges the lifesavers to discuss the most effective way of managing difficult situations while still maintaining a safe patrol location. The camp also invites guest speakers from Ambulance Victoria, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), and the Victorian Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service to provide an insight into their organisations and the pathways created by lifesaving. When the lifesavers hit the water their skills are tested in a number of scenarios, simulating situations they may come across while Education, training and experience are vital for any lifesaving role. Having the ability to recognise, react and communicate in an emergency situation requires regular training and dedication. Peer group training environments help to improve and develop the necessary skills required to be an effective lifeguard or lifesaver. Grant Hudson, Guest Editor
20 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
“The camp is developing the next generation of high quality lifesavers, arming them with the skills, experience and knowledge to take to their clubs, careers and personal lives.” patrolling. Their decision-making processes are put to the test allowing them to work as teams to provide the best outcome. The camp aims to develop the professionalism, leadership and technical ability of the candidates. Throughout the week they are given the opportunity to apply for a paid lifeguard position and are encouraged to treat the camp as a week-long interview. The technical training element involves undertaking the Gold Medallion (Advanced Lifesaving) Certificate and the Silver Medallion Basic Beach Management award, generating a new perspective of the responsibilities and capabilities of an advanced lifesaver. There is a strong focus on fostering a culture of team commitment, professionalism, strong lifesaving skills, respect for the service and each other, and strong leadership through both theoretical and practical training sessions each day. The camp is developing the next generation of high quality lifesavers, arming them with the skills, experience and knowledge to take to their clubs, careers and personal lives.
Seadoo Spark Spark update Wollongong City Council Jason Foye, Beach Services Coordinator
Spark Roll out Surf Life Saving WA Craig Bowley, Training and Logistics Officer This year Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) will be rolling out the Seadoo Spark as part of their lifeguard service equipment at the following beaches—Penguin Island, Smiths Beach, Meelup Beach, Bunker Bay and Yallingup. Due to the quick deployment during rescues, the Spark is the ideal craft for lifeguarding operations. The lighter weight of the craft allows lifeguards to remove them from trailers with greater ease—unlike other rescue craft that are heavier and more cumbersome. With only two lifeguards at each beach, this craft gives them the backup factor that wasn’t readily available to them before. With a 900cc engine the Spark allows lifeguards to nip out to rescues and patrol bathing areas with more agility and speed than conventional methods such as rescue boards or tubes.
This season, Wollongong City Council purchased an additional Seadoo Spark unit to be based at Thirroul beach. The Spark is still in operation at Stanwell Park beach. Both craft are performing well. Staff have found the craft most effective at sites where break work is required, and when the craft needs to be moved around on the beach regularly—this is where the weight of the craft is a significant advantage. One issue has been the strength of the handle bars—both craft have had issues in this area. Racing handle bars have been installed and this has addressed the problem of the handle bars breaking. Another issue that has presented is the sealing of the electrical components, with the original craft starting to see issues in this area. Overall the craft have addressed manual handling issues at specific sites and have been a great addition to the council fleet. The council will continue to have a diverse fleet of craft and have maintained the Yamaha skis at their two other sites as they have a tendency to undertake more offshore work and the size of the craft provides greater comfort and stability.
The SEABOB is a German designed and manufactured, portable, electric watercraft capable of speeds of up to 20km/h on top of the water. The craft can also dive to depths of 40m and can travel at speeds of up to 14km/h under the water. SLSQ staff, lifeguards and volunteers conducted three trials in three different locations in Queensland’s South-East (Noosa West, Coolum Beach and Main Beach on North Stradbroke Island). The conditions on the day of the trials weren’t challenging at any of the beaches, so all three trials took place in flat conditions. While putting the craft through its paces it was also assessed against a range of criteria, including: • How it would provide significant benefits for the lifeguard • How it would relate to other approved classes of equipment • What rescue techniques could be used when using the craft • The proposed usage and requirement in patrol operations • A cost benefit analysis, and • Assessment of education and training requirements to introduce a new class of equipment.
urf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has been putting the SEABOB to the test, but how does this dolphin-diving, portable watercraft stack up against current rescue equipment?
The responses from the trials indicated that participants felt that further trials were needed, and in more challenging conditions, specifically bigger surf. Over summer 2015/16 SLSQ will continue to conduct trials throughout the state to allow participants to give more feedback. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 21
On the Lookout
Western Australia’s trial surveillance towers are in place and are being put to the test
ince last year’s LIFEGUARD report, Surf Life Saving WA’s (SLSWA) plan to trial new surveillance towers has been realised, and towers are now in place on some of Perth’s metro beaches. LIFEGUARD checked in with SLSWA Lifeguard Operations Officer, Simon Peppler, to see how they are shaping up. “The towers are being trialled across three beaches in the Perth metro area; Cottesloe, North Cottesloe and City Beach, and the response so far has been largely positive with lifeguards having the ability to operate more efficiently,” Peppler says. “In the past, lifeguards and lifesavers have operated out of either a standard tow-on-thebeach trailer [which provides little height], or from under a pop-up, tent-style shelter. Both are known to have their advantages and disadvantages, however changing to increased height, tower
surveillance has enabled both lifesavers and lifeguards increased panoramic visibility, allowing them to see above the crowds on busy days, and to be more visible themselves.” The pop-up and trailer style shelters offer little protection from harsh natural elements such as the strong Perth wind, or the glare on the water from the afternoon sun. It’s hoped that using the new towers will eliminate these factors and help to reduce fatigue, increase response time and raise the public image of the lifeguard service in WA. Along the Californian coastline, these towers have been commonplace for many years and are designed to be semi-permanent structures, making them easy to move and store. The towers being trialled on WA beaches are imported from the US and are able to withstand even hurricane force winds. Peppler says, “We hope that if the trial continues to be successful, these towers will become a familiar sight along the WA coastline”.
I am a firm believer that having an elevated surveillance point, with adequate shelter from the elements, can help to predict and prevent many rescue situations. It allows for better overall beach management, reduces fatigue and distractions, and protects staff. Towers are simply a must have. All the equipment in the world is pointless if you can't see what's happening in the water. Grant Hudson, Guest Editor
“It’s hoped that using the new towers will help to reduce fatigue, increase response time and raise the public image of the lifeguard service in WA.” 22 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
A rare capture of an irukandji jellyfish
Lifeguarding in paradise
he world-renowned Cable Beach is a spectacular 22km stretch of white sand near Broome, Western Australia. The beach, originally named after the telegraph cable laid between Broome and Java in 1889, is today a top international tourist destination.
The Cable Beach lifeguard service season runs outside of the wet season, from April through to November, when daytime temperatures sit comfortably around the mid to high 20s. However, as Ric Cockman, Acting Senior Lifeguard, Shire of Broome explains, “at the start of the season the conditions can be slightly more uncomfortable as daytime temps hit the mid to high 30s and water temps are around 34 degrees”. Beach closures can be quite common at Cable Beach with the odd shark or crocodile sighting. “Sharks are often spotted by the local tourist charter planes and helicopters that regularly fly along the beach,” said Cockman. “We also had one major croc sighting this season right in the middle of the board leg of the U/19 Ironman event of the Northern Territory Surf Life Saving state titles. One of the Broome Surf Life Saving Club’s lifesavers spotted the croc while carrying out water safety on the jet ski. The beach was closed for three days as the croc spent a couple nights on the beach before eventually being apprehended by local wildlife officers and relocated to the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park,” he added. There was also a beach closure after the capture of a dangerous and rarely seen irukandji jellyfish during a routine stinger drag. Frequent visitors to Cable Beach include: turtles—on land and in the ocean; manta rays—frequently coming in close to the beach at the start of the season; as well as dolphins and whales. Big surf isn’t one of Cable Beach’s main attractions, so when surf's up the lifeguards are kept very busy. “This season, the majority of rescues were performed over one weekend when the beach experienced unseasonal swell, to 4m, catching several beachgoers offguard,” Cockman related. “We also had one incident where two international tourists managed to find themselves about 1km offshore and were very likely to
experience trouble if it hadn’t been for the lifeguards,” he added. Keeping the beach safe in 2015, the Cable Beach lifeguard team consisted of: a couple of Broome locals as casual lifeguards covering lunch breaks and some Saturday shifts; a Senior Lifeguard hailing from Perth; an English lifeguard, visiting off the back of a season in NZ; and a female lifeguard, originally from SA, on her third season in Broome, who was also straight off a season in NZ.
Lifeguarding Stats • 72,650 visitors to Cable Beach • 24,495 visitors recorded swimming • 3,099 surfcraft • 1,032 preventative actions—including relating advice to swimmers and surfcraft users. • 24 rescues • 118 minor first aids • 7 major first aids—including 2 suspected strokes/heart attacks, 3 dehydrations and a couple of cases of suspected heat stroke. • 7 beach closures—including shark sightings, crocodiles and irukandji jellyfish. Note: These totals are the result of The Shire of Broome Beach Lifeguards recording statistics every hour on the hour during each day of service (Mon–Sat). Broome SLSC covers the Sunday lifesaving service from May to mid-October. Lifeguarding stats are up to the end of August 2015 (our service commences in April each year).
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 23
In the Spotlight
Shellharbour City Council Beach Lifeguard Service
ocated approximately 11⁄2 hours south of Sydney, Shellharbour City is home to almost 65,000 people and spans 154 sq km. It’s a place of great natural beauty—stretching west from the picturesque coastline to rolling pastures, against the majestic backdrop of the Illawarra escarpment.
Shellharbour’s professional lifeguard service operates seven patrols across three beaches—one of which is an ocean pool patrol. Two patrols cover Shellharbour and Warilla for seven months of the year, while the other five patrols cover Warilla North, Warilla South, Blacks Beach, Beverly Whitfield Pool and Shellharbour South from the beginning of the December school holidays (seven days a week) and then roll into weekends, public and school holidays until ANZAC day. “We operate with one full-time lifeguard supervisor, two seasonal lifeguards and around 40 casual lifeguards. Council operates two Polaris all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and one quad bike. Lifeguards still operate with tubes and boards as the primary forms of rescue,” says Mitchell Copas, Beach Lifeguard Supervisor, Shellharbour City Council. “Last season, our beaches received around 260,000 visitations and completed 44 rescues, which reflects the ocean lifeguards’ pro-active approach to preventative action and surveillance. 24 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
Preventative actions numbered close to 3,000,” he added. Over the last two years, Shellharbour City Council (SCC) has undergone a restructure, resulting in the first full-time beach lifeguard supervisor. The appointment has been a catalyst for some fast and distinct changes for the lifeguard service. The most prominent has been the change from the white and red uniform to the blue on blue colours. When SCC introduced a new logo it meant all uniforms were going to need to be updated, offering an excellent opportunity to adopt the new colours. The blue on blue stands out on the beach, making lifeguards easily recognisable to each other and the public. The change was positively received by staff and the public.
There have been a few other changes that have come about during the last season. Copas explains, “The professional lifeguards are using Surfcom to sign on and off, which gives lifeguards access to excellent backup during emergencies as well as tying them in with the rest of the state via the radio system. We have also had a huge push on the customer service side of lifeguarding and we are always trying to positively engage the community through our routine operations; council events where lifeguards function as first aiders; school visits to talk about pool and beach safety; beach open days where council provides games for the kids, and some walking tours of the beaches where we discuss rips, waves and beach safety. “Shellharbour prides itself on its coastal area and the ocean lifeguard service complements this ethos.”
“Last season, Shellharbour beaches received around 260,000 visitations, completed 44 rescues, and preventative actions numbered close to 3,000.”
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 25
education & training
Ruling the waves
How a simple wave height concept can help you judge the size of the sea Neal Moodie, Bureau of Meteorology
redicting the size of the waves that roll in from the sea around Australia is not as hard as you might think—especially if you understand the concept of ‘significant wave height’.
As any experienced surfer will tell you, the landlubber’s myth that every seventh wave is a ‘big one’ is just that: a myth. The size and behaviour of waves are determined by a range of factors, from the direction of the swell to the speed of the tide, prevailing ocean currents, the depth of the water, the shape of the seafloor, the presence of reefs and sandbanks, even the temperature of the ocean. But there is one factor that rules the size of the waves more than any other: the wind. Waves are caused by wind blowing over the surface of the ocean and transferring energy from the atmosphere to the water. The height of waves is determined by the speed of the wind, how long it blows, and—crucially—the ‘fetch’, or the distance that the wind blows in a single direction over the water.
The result of these interactions is that you will experience a wide range of wave heights, and occasionally a genuine ‘big one’. However wonderful a prospect they are to surfers, big waves can pose a serious danger to boaters and fishermen—particularly when they arrive at reefs, bar crossings and deep-water coastlines, where the first indication of a wave’s true size can be as it breaks on the rocks they’re standing on. Using the standard international convention, the Bureau of Meteorology uses the concept of ‘significant wave height’ to notify ocean-goers of the size of swell and wind waves (or ‘sea waves’) in its coastal forecasts. Significant wave height is defined as the average wave height, from trough to crest, of the highest one-third of the waves. It provides an estimation of wave heights recorded by a trained observer from a fixed point at sea. As the graph (right) shows, a surfer will experience a typical ‘wave spectrum’, containing a low number of small waves (at the bottom) and a low number of very 26 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
Increasing height of waves
Highest one-third of waves
Naturally, bigger waves result from conditions that cause strong winds to blow for a sustained period over a large expanse of ocean. The resulting waves can travel for hundreds or even thousands of kilometres, smaller waves being absorbed by larger ones, faster waves overtaking slower—gradually growing and arranging themselves into the regular ‘sets’ so familiar to surfers and paddle boarders.
Maximum wave height
Statistically, about 1 in every 2,000–3,000 waves (3 to 4 times a day) will be approximately twice the height of the significant wave height.
Significant wave height
Most frequent wave height
Increasing number of waves
large waves (at the top). The greatest number of waves is indicated by the widest area of the spectrum curve. The highest one-third of waves is highlighted in dark blue, and the average height of waves in this group is the significant wave height. This concept can be used to estimate several parameters of the waves in a specific forecast. The highest 10% of the waves are roughly equal to 1.3 times the significant wave height, and the likely maximum wave height will be roughly double the significant height. While the most common waves are lower than the significant wave height, it is statistically possible to encounter a wave that is much higherâ€”especially if you are out in the water for a long time. It is estimated that approximately one in every 2,000 to 3,000 waves will reach twice the height of the significant wave heightâ€”roughly equivalent to three or four times a day. Much like the median house price guide in the real estate sector, the significant wave height is intended as an indicative guide that can help you gauge the size of the sea in a specific area. Wave height information for seas and swells is included in the Bureauâ€™s Coastal Waters and Local Waters forecasts, covering the Australian coastline and capital city waterways. Maps and tables of swell and wind wave heights are available on MetEye, the interactive weather-mapping service, www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 27
B o at i n g S n a p s h o t 2 0 0 4 –15
Analysis On average, at least 16 people drown per year as a result of boating. It’s the second highest number of deaths for an individual activity.
2nd Average deaths per year
Average Fatality Rate
per 100,000 population
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
Australian residents, Australian-born
No lifejacket usage
Boating alone VIC
Boating at night
Percentage of Population (%)
50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
2014–15: NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN COASTAL BOATING 45%
• 3 million total boaters • 0.8 million frequent boaters (at least once a month) • Occasional boaters average 17 hours per year
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey 2015
28 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
• Frequent boaters average 110 hours per year TAS
gear & equipment
SUPs on trial
Trevor Radburn, Lifesaving Operations Manager, SLSNT
uring the 2015 season, Surf Life Saving NT (SLSNT) lifeguards could be seen paddling along Mindil Beach, but this year they were upright as they patrolled on a yellow stand up paddle board (SUP), giving everyone a new perspective in lifeguarding. The Northern Territory (NT) lifeguard service teamed up with local business, ‘Fun Supply’, to trial the SUP. The Naish Glide GS is a 14ft x 30in x 8in board, and was selected as it’s super fast, light, as well as wide and very stable. The height of the SUP adds to its stability and provides enough room on the sides for ‘lifeguard’ signage. To ensure the SUP was usable by all lifeguards, regardless of height, a Naish ‘Makani’ adjustable 9in carbon paddle was used. The elevation gained by using the SUP, compared to the traditional rescue board, meant lifeguards had much better visibility into, and across the water. It appeared that the lack of noise produced while paddling meant that any marine creatures weren’t disturbed, resulting in more sightings of stingrays and sharks while paddling along the beach area. Having a lifeguard paddling along the beach also made it easy for the public to identify a patrol, and gave the NT lifeguard service a much greater public profile.
The SUP was also tested for speed and efficiency against the rescue board: over 25m both craft were even; over 50m the SUP was faster by up to 10m; but over 100m the SUP was noticeably quicker—by over 25m! All the lifeguards enjoyed trialling the SUP as an alternative method of surveillance, and while there was an element of fun they also got a solid workout.
“The SUP was tested for speed and efficiency against the rescue board … over 100m the SUP was noticeably quicker— by over 25m!”
SUP vs rescue board tesing
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 29
Keeping your head above water
Australia has a new standard for lifejackets
he updated standard includes a new level-25 class of lifejacket that has been informed by innovative and world-leading research into low-buoyancy lifejackets conducted by Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
Since February 2014, SLSA has supported the Australian Standards Committee in developing a new specification for buoyancy aids for use in special performance activities including surf life saving. It is part of SLSA’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of water safety and event safety for its members and the general community. The new level-25 class of lifejacket has been designed to fit the needs of high-performance sports, including some surf life saving sports, surfing, kiteboarding and wakeboarding. The low-buoyancy lifejackets have been designed to minimise secondary risk, for example by allowing athletes to dive under broken waves and perform their activities unhindered. Crucially, the lifejackets will also ensure an incapacitated athlete will float to the surface in salt water and enhance any necessary rescue efforts. During the revision process, the industry focused on ensuring that lifejackets are both comfortable and ergonomic. They also considered a broad range of water activities including rock fishing, paddle craft and high-performance activities. The level-25 lifejacket provides a new comfortable product that doesn’t restrict the wearer. It opens new possibilities to manufacturers and the community to wear even more comfortable lifejackets in high-performance sports. The standard paves the way for manufacturers to release new certified designs to meet the performance needs of athletes while also providing an added assurance of safety. 30 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
Lifejackets in Surf Sports In May 2015, the Surf Life Saving Australia Board accepted a report into the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in surf sports under conditions of heightened risk. The new lifejacket rules will come into effect on 1 October 2016, allowing an 18-month period to trial the lifejackets and consult with surf sport competitors. “This has been a rigorous process. Safety is paramount for Surf Life Saving Australia. We are committed to balancing safety considerations with enjoyment of our sport. Our sport is a key element in making our lifesavers rescue ready across Australia,” SLSA Deputy President Ralph Devlin said. “Trial and consultation for an 18-month period is designed to confirm that athlete safety is enhanced in conditions of heightened surf risk. We are talking about the combination of our risk assessment tool and the deployment of lifejackets for the improvement of athlete safety.” Safety should always be paramount in any sport, and minimising risk should be the highest priority. We operate in an environment that exposes us to so many unexpected risks each time we enter the water, risks which are mostly out of our control. Grant Hudson, Guest Editor
National Coastal Safet y Report 2015 S u r f L i f e S av i n g A u s t r a l i a
National Overview The following report is aÂ national summary of coastal drowning deaths in Australia from the National Coastal Safety Report 2015. To download the full report,Â including state breakdowns, visit sls.com.au/publications
N at i o n a l Ov e rv i e w
0.6 No COD Listed
COD Listed 113
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
2004–15: 11-year Trend of National Coastal Drowning Deaths National coastal drowning death numbers and crude drowning rates 2004–15. The 11-year average rate per 100,000 population is 0.43 and the number is 94, while the rate for 2014–15 is 0.43 and the number is 102.
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
0.18 0.16 0.14 0.12
Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft Attempting a Rescue Diving Snorkelling Rock/Cliff Related Other Unknown
0.10 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.00 2004-05
2004–15: 11-year Coastal Drowning Deaths by Activity The national rates of activity types being undertaken when coastal drowning deaths occur vary over time. The rates of rock fishing (0.05 vs. 0.06 average rate per 100,000 pop.) and attempting a rescue (0.004 vs. 0.02 average rate per 100,000 pop.) activities are below the 11-year average rate. Swimming and wading (0.14 rate per 100,000 pop.), snorkelling (0.02 rate per 100,000 pop.) and other activities (0.02 rate per 100,000 pop.)
Surf life saving Austr alia
have rates equal to the 11-year averages. Boating (0.08 vs. 0.07 average rate per 100,000 pop.), watercraft (0.04 vs. 0.03 rate per 100,000 pop.), diving (0.03 vs. 0.02 average rate per 100,000 pop.) and rock/cliff related (0.02 vs. 0.01 rate per 100,000 pop.) activities have a higher rate this year than the 11-year average. Other activities include vehicular events, plane crash, beach fishing and falls.
National Coastal safet y report 2015
Crude Drowning Rate per 100,000
Crude Drowning Deaths (n)
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
2014–15: Coastal drowning deaths by state Of the 102 coastal drowning deaths, 37 (36%) occurred in NSW, 19 (19%) in Qld, 18 (18%) in Vic, 14 (14%) in WA, 12 (12%) in SA, 2 (2%) in Tas, and zero in NT.
Female 0.07 Male
2014–15: Coastal Drowning Deaths by Age Group and Sex The age group representing the highest rate of fatalities is 45–49 years (n=15, 0.06 rate per 100,000 pop.). Eighty-eight fatalities (86%) were male.
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
N at i o n a l Ov e rv i e w
Swimming/Wading Boating Rock Fishing Watercraft Diving Snorkelling Rock/Cliff Related Other Attempting a Rescue Unknown
Beach Rock/Cliff Offshore Bay Marina/Jetty
2014–15: Coastal Drowning Deaths by Activity (n=102)
2014–15: Location of Coastal Drowning Deaths (n=102)
The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred when an individual was participating in swimming or wading (n=34, 33%), boating (n=19, 19%), rock fishing (n=13, 13%), using non-powered watercraft (n=9, 9%) or scuba diving (n=7, 7%).
The majority of coastal drowning deaths occurred at a beach (n=57), at a rock/cliff location (n=22) and offshore (n=16). When compared to last year (2013–14), the percentages illustrate a decrease in offshore (16% from 33%) and rock/cliff locations (22% from 25%) and an increase in drowning deaths in beach (56% from 38%) and bay (4% from 0%) locations. There were, again, no drowning deaths between the flags.
Greater than 5km 30%
Greater than 50km
Greater than 5km 1km to 5km Less than 1km
Greater than 50km Less than 10km 10km to 50km International Unknown
2014–15: Distance from Drowning Location to a Lifesaving Service (n=102)
2014–15: Distance from Residence to Drowning Location (n=102)
Forty-two individuals (41%) drowned further than 5km from the nearest lifesaving club. No coastal drowning deaths occurred between the red and yellow flags.
Thirty-three individuals (32%) lived further than 50km from the drowning location, and 7 coastal drowning deaths (7%) involved international tourists.
Surf life saving Austr alia
National Coastal safet y report 2015
education & Training
Drowning A neglected global killer
he World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its first report highlighting the devastating impact of drowning around the world.
WHO’s Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer shows that drowning is a serious public health threat, claiming the lives of 372,000 people a year worldwide. Every hour, every day, more than 40 people lose their lives to drowning. Key findings from the report include: • More than half of all drowning deaths are among those aged under 25 years • Males are two times more likely to drown than females • T he highest rates for drowning are among children under five years of age • More than 90% of drownings occur in low- and middle-income countries, with the highest rates in the African, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions • Drowning is among the 10 leading causes of death for children and young people in every region across the globe.
Prevention is Vital The report reveals that the annual drowning death toll is well over half that of malaria and almost two thirds that of malnutrition. However, unlike these public health challenges, there are no worldwide prevention efforts targeting drowning. WHO reports that unlike other injuries, surviving drowning is determined at the scene of the incident, and depends on how quickly the person is removed from the water, and how quickly effective resuscitation is performed. Prevention, therefore, is vital.
Top10 WHO’s 10 Actions to Reduce Drowning 1 Install barriers controlling access to water. 2 Provide safe places away from water for pre-school children with capable childcare. 3 Teach school-age children basic swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills. 4 Train bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation. 5 Strengthen public awareness of drowning and highlight the vulnerability of children. 6 Set and enforce safe boating, shipping and ferry regulations. 7 Build resilience and manage flood risks and other hazards locally and nationally. 8 Coordinate drowning prevention efforts with those of other sectors and agendas. 9 Develop a national water safety plan. 10 Address priority research questions with well-designed studies.
The report calls for a substantial increase in efforts and resources to prevent drowning and recommends actions to be taken by national policymakers and local communities that could save many young lives. “Efforts to reduce child mortality have brought remarkable gains in recent decades, but they have also revealed otherwise hidden childhood killers,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “Drowning is one. This is a needless loss of life. Action must be taken by national and local governments to put in place the simple preventive measures articulated by WHO.”
“Every hour, every day, more than 40 people lose their lives to drowning.”
education & Training
Surviving the Big Chill
Understanding cold water immersion Peter Hopkins, Marine and Safety Tasmania
ost of you will have dived into water so cold that the chill has literally taken your breath away. Or, you may have even unexpectedly fallen overboard into cold water after losing your footing or missing a handhold when forgetting the golden rule, “one hand for the boat and one hand for you”! Ending up in cold water can be very dangerous, especially when it is unexpected. In many parts of Australia, particularly in southern states, the average water temperature in summer can be around 19°C off the coast. However, in winter the water temperature can drop to as low as 15°C, and the further south you go the lower it can get (10°C or below). Inland and alpine waters also get extremely cold and temperatures can be as low as 2°C. Studies have shown that cold water carries heat away from the body 25 times faster than air at the same temperature. Because of this, the body core begins to lose heat to the outside environment and we begin to shiver in an attempt to generate more heat. However, shivering will not be enough to offset the loss of heat to the water, and depending on the water temperature, judgment can become affected within 20 or 30 minutes as the core body temperature drops below 35°C. The table shows how your body may behave in cold water and the average expected survival time. However, it must be remembered that everyone’s response to cold water will vary depending on the
amount of body fat, activity in the water, and clothing worn. You don’t have long in cold water before experiencing a lack of coordination and dexterity if you’re not wearing protective clothing. Many of us have been in a situation where we have been so cold that it’s been difficult to undo a shackle, tie a bowline or get a zipper done up on wet weather gear—but being in water is far worse.
1-10-1 At the Marine 15 Conference on the Gold Coast in May 2015, Dr Gordon Giesbrecht spoke on cold water shock immersion, explaining the 1-10-1 (1 minute—10 minute—1 hour) concept for managing immersion in water temperatures less than 15°C. The times are approximate, but the essential strategy remains the same. Dr Giesbrecht considers that once you’re in the water you will hyperventilate for one minute. During this time you will need to control your breathing and keep your mouth clear of the water. In the first minute, you must try not to panic and plan your next steps.
Water Loss of dexterity Exhaustion or Expected Temperature °C with no protective unconsciousness survival time clothing 0.3–4.5
36 Australian Lifeguard Magazine
education & Training
“Hypothermia may not be the major cause of death in cold water immersion situations. Studies show that up to 60% of cold water immersion fatalities occur in the first 15 minutes, before the body core temperature cools to hypothermic levels.”
During the next 10 minutes you will have reasonable mobility and dexterity, so you must take this time to perform tasks that will extend your survival, such as activating your EPIRB or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), firing your flares, or using a dye bag if you have one.
From the archives: SLST practising cold water rescues. Please note, helmets are now mandatory for all RWC operators.
Don’t try and swim a long distance, as you will become exhausted. You need to use your energy carefully and if possible get any amount of your body out of the water as it will extend your survival time by reducing the loss of body heat. If you are still in the water without a PFD level 150 or PFD 1, which should float you on your back, you need to try and secure yourself so your airway is out of the water. Finally, you will have one hour of useful consciousness. If you have been unable to self-rescue in this time, adopt the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP) to reduce the core body cooling rate. You will rapidly lose useful mobility and gradually lose feeling in your fingers and hands. All research points to the fact that by wearing a lifejacket, especially a level 150 designed to keep your airway clear of the water, your chances of survival are far greater. You’re able to control your breathing, you’re not fighting to keep afloat, and consequently you’re using less energy so your core body temperature will not cool as quickly. Cold water immersion has probably not been given due consideration in many past boating fatalities. However, in Tasmania two recent coroner’s reports have given considerable information in their recommendations and conclusions regarding cold water immersion. Statistics show that while fatalities have dropped overall in Tasmania since 2001, 51% of those who have drowned in boating incidents have been wearing a lifejacket. By contrast, in NSW only 10% of those who have drowned through a boating incident have been wearing a lifejacket. This may indicate that cold water immersion is a topic that requires further research and analysis. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 37
education & Training
Risk Perception and Behavioural Insights
here is a lack of awareness among the public about the hazards posed by the Australian coast. Surf Life Saving Australia’s 2015 National Coastal Safety Survey revealed: • 50% of people say the coast is only somewhat hazardous, while 41% of people say the beach is not very or not at all hazardous. • 70% of people perceive rip currents to be very or extremely hazardous, but only 26% of people are able to correctly identify a rip current. • Only 38% of people say they are able to swim more than 50m in the ocean without stopping or touching the bottom. • Participants in coastal activities do not follow key safety procedures—only 45% of people usually swim at a patrolled beach during patrol hours, while 21% say they usually swim at unpatrolled locations; only 18% of fishers, 42% of watercraft users and 53% of boaters always wear a lifejacket. While certain coastal hazards, such as rip currents, are recognised as dangerous by people, participation in coastal activities where rip currents may be present (such as swimming and wading) is not seen to be hazardous. In general, occasional (and potentially less experienced) participants in coastal activities see the activity as less hazardous than frequent participants say they perceive the same activity.
Extremely Hazardous Very Hazardous Somewhat Hazardous Not Very Hazardous Not at All Hazardous Can't Say
2014–15: Hazard Perception of the Coast
Question: How hazardous do you believe the coast (by coast we mean the ocean and surf zone and the adjacent rocky coast) to be? Half of the Australian population believe the coast to be somewhat hazardous, while 21% of people perceive it to be not very or not at all hazardous.
This lack of understanding about the coastal environment, together with people’s poor swimming ability in the ocean and their low level of adherence to safety procedures, form a dangerous combination that contributes to coastal drowning deaths. Surf Life Saving Australia is undertaking behavioural insights research into high-risk groups to better understand people’s perception of hazards and what motivates them to follow water safety procedures. The intelligence from the research will be used to inform water safety strategies and mitigations as well as communications plans to more effectively influence people’s behaviour. The research will provide a behaviour change framework that will ultimately be used to improve people’s resilience to coastal hazards and reduce drowning deaths among beachgoers and coastal users.
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Extremely Hazardous Very Hazardous Somewhat Hazardous Not Very Hazardous Not at All Hazardous Can't Say
2014–15: Hazard Perception of the Beach
Question: How hazardous do you believe the beach (by beach we mean the ocean and surf zone and the adjacent sandy beach) to be? Four out of ten (41%) people say the beach is not very or not at all hazardous, while 14% of people believe it to be very or extremely hazardous.
education & Training
Activities People Say are Very or Extremely Hazardous Coastal Hazards People Say are Very or Extremely Hazardous
Marine Stinger Creatures
2014â€“15: Perception of Coastal Activities
Question: How hazardous do you think it is to participate in each of the following activities in Australian coastal areas? How would you rate the following hazards in Australian coastal areas?
Rip currents are seen to be very or extremely hazardous by 70% of Australians, while 35% of people think similarly about waves. Participating in popular coastal activities such as swimming (13%) and wading (10%) is not perceived to be very hazardous. Rock fishing is perceived to be very or extremely hazardous by 46% of people.
Frequent Participants Who Say the Activity is Very or Extremely Hazardous Occasional Participants Who Say the Activity is Very or Extremely Hazardous 45%
Tropical Marine Stinger Creatures
2014â€“15: Perception of Coastal Activities by Participants Question: How hazardous do you think it is to participate in each of the following activities in Australian coastal areas? In general, frequent participants in coastal activities (at least once per month) rate participation in the activity to be more
hazardous than occasional participants view the same activity. However, 49% of frequent rock fishers think the activity is very or extremely hazardous, while 56% of occasional participants rate it similarly.
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 39
Gymnastic Strength Training
Teresa Kay, Personal Trainer, Gymnastics and CrossFit Coach
Name: Shaun Anderson
Position(s): Lifeguard, Wollongong City Council; Senior Firefighter, Fire and Rescue NSW Q: Why did you decide to start Gymnastic Strength Training (GST)?
A: Because I’m always keen to try new forms of training and learn new skills. Q: What are you hoping to get out of GST?
A: I want a form of strength training that isn’t too taxing on the body, so that I can get up the next morning and be able to surf or go to work without feeling overly sore. Q: Is there anything that stands out about GST over other similar training?
A: I’ve been able to increase my strength without losing mobility or flexibility. I think it’s the most superior form of strength training I have ever done and believe it would translate to a wide range of sports. Q: Do you think GST would be beneficial for lifeguards and lifesavers? A: Absolutely, I think this kind of strength training would be beneficial to everyone.
dult gymnastic strength training (GST) draws upon bodyweight strength and conditioning with a focus on enhancing strength and stability, and improving flexibility, coordination, joint function and range of motion. Gymnastic style exercises have always been popular, and aren’t new to the fitness industry. However, the structured, disciplined approach brought to popularity in 2003 by coach Christopher Sommer produces the best development in bodyweight strength and flexibility. These exercises have become an integral part of strength and conditioning training by a diverse group of athletes—surfers, swimmers, snowboarders, CrossFit athletes and martial artists. There are three areas of GST that would bring the most benefit for anyone involved in surf sports.
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Abdominal Strength and Endurance The improvement in core strength serves to improve balance for surfing, board paddling and surfboat events. Improved strength of the entire midline, including the lateral stability of the abdominal region, provides increased spinal stability and the ability to move with increased power, speed and efficiency. The risk of injury to the lower back or shoulder is reduced due to a more efficient and stable core.
Shoulder and Back Strength GST focuses on movements such as push ups, pull ups and a variety of shoulder mobility exercises, improving not only strength but also function of the shoulder girdle and back. The end result is more strength and stamina during paddling, surfing and rowing, and a reduced risk of shoulder injury.
Lower Body Strength The double focus on leg strength and lower body flexibility and mobility are of major benefit to the surfer, enabling better positioning to produce more power. Coordination and agility are also a great advantage for all surf- and sand-related activities. The beauty of GST is that it can be performed almost anywhere, at any time, with limited equipment, once a thorough understanding of technique and progression is obtained. Any type of training that focuses on core body strength is beneficial for surf-related sports. Gymnastic type training has been used by professional athletes in the past and it's great to see a focus on this type of fundamental core strength and flexibility training again. Your body can move in so many different ways in the surf, so combining this program with a water/surf program, while having a great time and enjoying yourself, is a must! Start getting ready for those Summer/ Autumn 3m cyclone swells—get ready, be prepared! Grant Hudson, Guest Editor
health & Fitness
Bulletproof your core A strong core provides increased power, for longer periods of time, and with less risk of injury for all athletes, including lifeguards and lifesavers.
A basic four-week program can start you on your way to building your core strength. Teresa is a former gymnast and has been involved in coaching gymnastics for over 20 years. She has a passion for all movement and sport. Teresa is the owner of CrossFit Rebound in Bellambi, NSW, where she holds weekly adult Gymnastic Strength Training classes, www.crossfitrebound.com.au
In GST, when we refer to the ‘core’, the focus is on all the muscles that stabilise and protect the spine—providing multi-directional strength for activities such as surfing, stand up paddle boarding, and paddling a rescue board.
Core Strength – four week Program (Basic Level) Hollow Side Plank Reverse Tuck Snaps Body Hold Hollow Hold Week 1 3 x 30 second hold
3 x 30 second hold (each side)
3 x 30 second hold
3 x 10 tuck snaps
Week 2 4 x 36 second hold
4 x 36 second hold (each side)
4 x 36 second hold
4 x 12 tuck snaps
Week 3 5 x 36 second hold
5 x 36 second hold (each side)
5 x 36 second hold
5 x 12 tuck snaps
Week 4 3 x 20 second hold
3 x 20 second hold (each side)
3 x 20 second hold
3 x 8 tuck snaps
1. Hollow Body Hold
2. Foream Side Plank
3. Reverse Hollow Hold
4. Tuck Snaps
Raise your shoulders off the ground with the lower back firmly packed against the floor. The legs should be raised off the floor about 30cm. The gluteal muscles should be squeezed to prevent arching. Anchor the pelvis and lower back together and squeeze the legs together.
Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you. Squeeze your legs together, and raise both your legs and chest off the floor. Make sure your legs are together and your head is in line with the body. Focus your eyes towards the floor.
Place your elbow directly underneath your shoulder with the body in one straight line. Raise the hips off the floor to work the muscles of the side trunk.
Lie on your back with your face upward—similar to the Hollow Body Hold. Bring your torso up to meet your thighs and hug your legs momentarily. Return back to the starting position. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 41
Cutting-edge research to influence high-risk groups
ip currents (swimming and wading), boating, rock fishing and watercraft (non-powered craft) account for 59% of all drowning deaths in Australia. Addressing these four issues is essential in the efforts to achieve the Australian Water Safety Strategy goal of a 50% reduction in drowning deaths by 2020.
Participants in these activities who are most at risk of drowning are predominantly men. The resistant male, often set in his ways and sure of his ability to overcome all obstacles, is a challenge for any public safety practitioner. Recognising the behavioural characteristics of these groups will enable water safety professionals to better understand their motivations as well as their participation and practices.
Understanding those at risk Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) commissioned the Ipsos Social Research Institute to provide behavioural insights research for the high-risk demographic groups for rip currents, boating, rock fishing and watercraft. The researchers have undertaken qualitative research (discussion groups and interviews, including languages other than English) in relevant populations and locations. Additionally, there is a quantitative research element— targeted online surveys. Participants were asked a range of questions including when and why they did or didn’t swim between the flags; could they identify rip currents (which was also tested); and when and why they did or didn’t use lifejackets when paddling, boating or rock fishing.
For each issue, the research will provide a detailed analysis of the high-risk groups. It will throw light on what motivates them to participate in coastal activities; where and when they visit the coast; how risky they think the activity is as well as how they perceive the risk level of their own behaviour; what and/or who influences them; what are the barriers to improving their safety practices; and where they seek information about their activity. The researchers will also provide a framework for changing the behaviour of each demographic group. It will include suggestions for communications plans, interventions and mitigation strategies. The results will be shared with water safety practitioners through workshops designed to develop a series of recommendations. By using evidence-based intelligence from this research to deliver key behavioural insights, water safety practitioners can develop campaigns designed to influence the perceptions of high-risk groups and promote safer behaviours such as avoiding rip currents and the wearing of lifejackets. Following the completion of the research, SLSA will release a report for each of these issues outlining its current status (including drowning data analysis, participation information, behavioural insights, past and current interventions) and recommendations for future strategies.
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 43
Rock Fishing Snapshot 2 0 0 4 –15
Analysis On average, at least 13 people drown per year as a result of rock fishing. It’s the third highest number of deaths for an individual activity.
3rd Average deaths per year
Average Fatality Rate
per 100,000 population
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
Australian residents, Australian-born and overseas-born WA
No lifejacket usage Dangerous conditions Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
Percentage of Population (%)
2014–15: NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN COASTAL ROCK FISHING
• 1.3 million rock fishers
12 10 8
• Occasional rock fishers average 9 hours per year
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey 2015
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• 0.6 million frequent rock fishers (at least once a month)
• Frequent rock fishers average 309 hours per year
TrygFonden Livredder Service Promotes Five Rules 1 2 3 4 5
Learn to swim. Never swim alone. Learn to read the water and wind conditions. Familiarise yourself with the beach. Do not lose sight of your children.
Declan Etheridge next to a Danish lifeguard tower.
TrygFonden Livredder Service Lifeguarding with the happiest people in the world
Declan Etheridge, Australian Lifeguard Service, WA
uring the 2015 Danish summer, I spent two months lifeguarding on exchange with TrygFonden Livredder Service, Denmark, and it was well worth the experience—the women are beautiful and the Danes are the happiest people in the world.
I shared the experience with two other lucky Australian lifeguards— Harlan Mullins from City of Stirling lifeguards, WA, and Kyle Palmer from Australian Lifeguard Service, Queensland. When you’re lifeguarding in another country there are always differences and that’s definitely the case in Denmark—even their CPR is slightly different but that’s because they use the European standard. The Danes include an additional first aid check known as ABCE—airway, breathing, circulatory and environment. It’s easy to
forget how fast the temperature can change—one day, supposedly the coldest day in July in 15 years, it was 10 degrees on average when a few days before it was 32 degrees.
TrygFonden Livredder service do an exceptional job in testing their lifeguards on a weekly basis with surprise ‘in-situ’ days where a disguised TrygFonden employee will swim out between the flags and raise their hand. The lifeguards are then tested on how they react, and how fast they perform. The swimmer is usually ‘unconscious’ when the lifeguard gets to them so they must then treat the situation as a real life incident. On the beach they continue with a mannequin and are then tested for 5–10 minutes. This testing increases the confidence of the lifeguards, and allows them to reflect on what they could have done better and how they see themselves. As Australian lifeguards in Denmark all three of us were also given the opportunity to ‘surprise test’ the Danes. I believe this testing process would have a huge benefit in Australia with all lifeguards and lifesavers. All open water lifeguards in Denmark have been trained to use an Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) and all the Australians had to learn how to do a solo pick-up. It was simple, and yet a little confusing at the same time. The boats themselves are slightly different to ours; the Danes don’t have cover/padding over the nose of the boat to cushion your fall when you’re crewing; their motors have gears on the lever hand, not on the side; and for all unconscious pickups the boats come with a floating GPS device to throw in the water in case the patient was with someone else—pretty smart! Denmark gets waves on the west coast and further north, but they are spilling wind waves without much power, making it enjoyable on a rescue board. And if you love windsurfing you will always have enough onshore wind. On the east coast, it’s flat and your chances of getting an offshore are a lot greater. The lifeguard towers/shelters are superb—they are practical, wind proof, and are an iconic feature on the Danish coastline. For two lifeguards manning a beach, having the ability to get to the top of the tower in a couple of seconds is great. Love them! A few things I wish I'd known before heading over to Denmark: • Setting up a tax file number (Danish CPR number) and bank account in Denmark isn't easy—it took me six weeks to sort mine out and I was still struggling even with an EU Passport. • Learning German is probably more useful than Danish due to the amount of German tourists. • Buying beer is the same price as soft drink but daily expenses are high especially public transport and accommodation. • A lmost everyone between the ages of 20 and 30 are students. • Lifeguards all want to get the last couple of weeks of the season off, so it’s easy to pick up extra shifts. TrygFonden, in collaboration with the Danish Swimming Federation, manages TrygFonden Surf Life Saving.
It's always great to see how other services around the world adapt—know your service, know your clientele, know your environment. I don't know how I'd go in Denmark as I'm not even a big fan of the cold winter offshore winds in Port Macquarie! Great work by the staff, managers and trainers in the Denmark lifeguard service. Grant Hudson, Guest Editor Australian Lifeguard Magazine 45
The Royal National Lifeboat institution
Saving lives at sea Peter Dawes, Lifesaving Services Manager
he Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a sea rescue service first established in 1824. The lifeguard service began with 26 beach lifeguard units in the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall areas. Now, the RNLI boasts lifeguard services throughout England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Jersey—with the newest services now in Scotland. The lifeguard services are seasonal and vary around the country from Easter to October with peak season during summer holidays in July and August. In the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland the RNLI provides: • A strategically located fleet of all-weather lifeboats, which are available at all times, and tactically placed inshore craft, which are subject to weather limitations
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• A lifeguard service, predominantly on a seasonal basis • Coastal safety, research and education programs, and • Flood response. The RNLI has a simple purpose—to save lives at sea—and is dedicated to the vision of ending preventable loss of life. We are here to educate, supervise and ultimately rescue those who are at risk from drowning, while also looking to influence those who can further help our cause.
Fitness standard • 400m swim in 7:30 or under with first 200 in 3:30 or under • 50m swim (25m underwater/25m surface swim) in 50 seconds or under • 200m beach run in 40 seconds or under
RNLI Lifeguards The lifeguards are a growth part of the services delivered by the RNLI and from their inception in 2001 the RNLI lifeguards now patrol 225 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. We have lifeguards from around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and a number of European countries. Our aim is to expand our lifeguarding service, so that every region that needs lifeguard cover on its beaches has an appropriate level of beach safety service provision. In 2014, the lifeguards demonstrated their commitment to the communities they service, and the statistics are certainly impressive: • 1,150 lifeguards recruited, trained and equipped • 117,541 people attended education programs • 2,363,033 preventative actions completed • 17,050 incidents responded to • 19,353 people aided. A challenge remains to tackle the problem of fatalities that continue to occur around our coastline where we have not yet been able to help. Next year, the lifeguards will return to the beaches looking to build on our existing services and strive to save more lives in 2016.
Work as an RNLI Lifeguard in summer 2016? We think that working as an RNLI lifeguard is one of the best summer jobs going in the UK. It will enable you to train and work with a great team of like-minded people. All this and you’ll be working from the beach, earning a decent hourly rate—and doing what lifeguards do best, helping to save lives every day. Applications are open to anyone aged 16 or over who is able to meet the RNLI fitness and medical standards and has an internationally recognised beach lifeguard qualification. Recruitment for the 2016 season will begin early in the new year. We have a number of overseas lifeguards working for us each year. Unfortunately we can’t help with visa applications, and this remains the responsibility of the applicants. Volunteering is at the heart of the RNLI, so we also welcome volunteers to patrol alongside our professional lifeguards and that may be an option if you are in the UK for other reasons and want to keep your hand into lifeguarding. For more information: https://jobs.rnli.org
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 47
education & training
Cardiac arrest 5 steps to survival Mairéd Dwane, Senior Online Editor, RNLI
“You have given a three-year-old her daddy back.” The words of a relieved mother whose husband suffered a cardiac arrest and is pulling through—thanks to a quick-thinking passer-by, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards, coastguards, paramedics, hospital staff … and the Chain of Survival.
Recognise the problem and start the response
21 May had been a quiet day on Mawgan Porth Beach in north Cornwall, United Kingdom. Sean Ashton was jogging along the sand at 5.55pm when he went into cardiac arrest. Two women on their honeymoon—one of whom was a former police officer—saw this and recognised what was happening. Rachel Bennett told the Plymouth Herald: “He was about 10m ahead of us and then he just went flat on his face. He certainly wasn’t breathing, so I gave him CPR while my wife called the RNLI lifeguards over.”
Photo: RNLI/Chris Speers
The lifeguards—Dave Kelly, Jackson Howell and Tim Robey— were due to clock off at 6pm. They had just started packing up their kit. Dave recalls: “I took a look and saw someone had already started doing chest compressions. The guy was at the water’s edge with an incoming tide, so we picked him up and brought him up the beach. I went to get comms with Falmouth coastguard and left the guys to start CPR.” Jackson continues: “I took the grab bag out of the truck. It’s got the oxygen and the defib, and the bag valve mask, which is what you
education & training
So what is the Chain of Survival? RNLI Lifesaving Services Manager Peter Dawes explains: “The Chain of Survival refers to the series of actions that link together to increase the chances of survival should someone suffer a cardiac arrest. “Put simply, someone needs to recognise the problem and start the response: early CPR will buy time for the emergency services, early defibrillation is essential as the chance of survival reduces with every passing minute, and early advanced care pre-hospital and in hospital is essential.”
use for mouth-to-mouth. I started compressions and when Tim arrived he helped me with the oxygen.”
Shocking the chest with the defibrillator might be a whole new link in the chain, but the keyword here is ‘rapid’. Thanks to the honeymooners’ actions, the lifeguards were on the scene with their equipment within five minutes—greatly improving Sean’s chances. Jackson says: “While Tim was doing the breaths I got the defib out and attached the pads. I continued the compressions and then we gave the first shock. We then had to move him up the beach again, as the tide was coming in real quick. We delivered a second shock on the beach, and then our supervisor Anton arrived in the lifeguards truck.”
Advanced care pre-hospital
RNLI lifeguards on the scene have the equipment and training to deal immediately with casualties on the beach. But for serious medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest, you want to get into paramedics’ care and on your way to hospital—fast. “When Anton arrived, we put the guy on the back of the truck and jumped on,” Tim says. “I continued CPR while Dave held onto the casualty’s head, and we drove to the top of the beach. At that point, the coastguard and paramedics were there and ready to take over. We did one last shock with our defibrillator and handed him over into their care.” Dave adds: “Most of the coastguards are trained paramedics. They’ve got lots of different machines, including one that does the compressions for them, freeing them up to start administering drugs and adrenalin. The ambulance paramedics and coastguards were working together for about 20 minutes—waiting for the helicopter to come in.”
Advanced care in hospital
The Royal Navy helicopter from Culdrose brought Sean to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, where continued care helped him make a steady, if slow, recovery. Dave says: “He was definitely lucky we were still on the beach. Literally five minutes later we would have been gone. And we’ve got the training and the equipment to deal with it, so that helps. To know that you’ve helped someone is a pretty good feeling.”
biographies Jackson Howell RNLI lifeguard
Jackson Howell is a Surf Life Saving WA lifeguard. He was on the RNLI exchange program in the UK at the time of this event.
Tim Robey RNLI lifeguard
Tim Robey lives in Newquay, Cornwall, UK, and has a strong surf life saving background with the Newquay Surf Life Saving Club.
Dave Kelly RNLI lifeguard
Dave Kelly lives in Newquay, Cornwall, UK, and has an ex-Forces background.
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 49
Lifeguards of Nauru
Going from strength to strength
tâ€™s been a busy year for the lifeguards of Nauru who have embraced the challenges associated with providing a lifeguard service and continue to build their reputation on the island nation. The relationship between Australia and the Pacific Island nation started in 2012 with the implementation of the Nauru lifeguard service after Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and John Short (Nauru Surf Club, Founder) agreed to develop the program. In the first year, Steve Allan (SLSNSW on behalf of SLSA) trained 58 Nauruan people in the Bronze Medallion course, and in the three years since, the education courses offered to locals have continued to expand with qualifications such as Advanced Resuscitation Techniques, Spinal Management and Beach Management. In addition, there has been a consolidation of a Nippers program, a focus on learn to swim lessons and numerous visits to the local schools by the lifeguards, who continue to pass on the message of water safety. Each year an additional one or two people qualify as lifeguards, and some have started to become teachers themselves, with a number of Nauruan lifeguards completing the Training Officer Certificate
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course. It is an example of self-sufficiency and organic growth that should help the organisation strengthen into the future. Australia has played a key role in the formative years of lifeguard development in the Republic of Nauru as the Nauruans recognise that the skills and standards of Australian lifeguards were something that they could aspire to. Steve Allan, who has visited Nauru five times in recent years, said itâ€™s exciting how the lifeguards have been embraced. â€œEveryone associated with lifeguarding in Nauru has worked extremely hard
Development of any lifesaving service, locally or internationally, can only ever be a positive step. It's great to see other countries recognising Australian skills and allowing them to be demonstrated and applied in overseas environments. As Australians, we tend to take our lifestyle for granted, we are fortunate to have access to training and resources, and have so many skilled personnel. Surf education, skills and awareness for any country surrounded by water is vital. Grant Hudson, Guest Editor
Maska at Bondi Maska Hubert made history as the first lifeguard from Nauru to patrol Sydney's Bondi Beach. He spent a busy day under the guidance of members of the Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club. There was an estimated 20,000 visitors on the beach the day of his five-hour patrol.
to develop a culture of safety, and the reputation of the lifeguards continues to increase each year,” Mr Allan said. History was made last January when two Nauru lifeguards patrolled on Australian beaches for the first time, and the organisation hopes that potentially this could lead to an exchange program in the future. Maska Hubert and Ollimac Scotty arrived in the country in December 2014. After spending time travelling along the eastern seaboard the opportunity arose for the duo to visit Palm Beach Currumbin SLSC in Queensland. They had a great time touring the club’s facilities and inspecting the beach. But much more was to come for Maska when he was given the chance to patrol Sydney’s busiest beach alongside
“The success and growth of the Nauru lifeguard operation highlights why it is so important for Australian lifeguards to continue to share their knowledge and experience with the wider lifeguarding community.” members of Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club on 17 January. Club Captain James Roger and Patrol Captain Roger Butler were on hand to help guide this rookie patrolman as he made history, becoming the first from his country to patrol Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. He spent some time on the water’s edge and also learned how the IRB and ATV vehicles operated. On the day there was an estimated 20,000 visitors on the shoreline, but Maska confidently handled the situation during his five-hour stint. The 2014/15 season was a successful one for Nauru lifeguards, with their Government giving them equal status with other rescue services such as the fire brigade after a number of successful rescue operations. The team recently acquired jet skis and have moved into 24/7 operation, able to respond to any coastal emergency. The success and growth of the Nauru lifeguard operation highlights why it is so important for Australian lifeguards to continue to share their knowledge and experience with the wider lifeguarding community. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 51
urf Life Saving’s latest stars were certainly shining the night of the 2015 Surf Life Saving Australia Awards of Excellence, at the City Recital Hall in Sydney in October. Every year the awards recognise the amazing dedication and skills of lifeguards and lifesavers from around the country, and this year was no different. Luke Plant from Victoria’s Australian Lifeguard Services took out the prestigious DHL Lifeguard of the Year award. Plant’s career has progressed steadily over his six years as a professional lifeguard and this year he was heavily involved in the development of a rookie program in Victoria. Billy Jackson, a 57-year-old Scot from Brighton Surf Life Saving Club in South Australia took out the DHL Lifesaver of the Year award. Jackson, who once had a fear of the ocean, moved to Australia from Scotland 20 years ago. In 2014/15, Jackson clocked a staggering 215 hours of volunteer patrols for his local club and is the first South Australian winner of the Lifesaver of the Year award since 2008. On a night where awards were sent to all corners of the country, Queensland’s Mermaid Beach SLSC won the DHL Club of the Year after being a nominee in the same category last year. Judges applauded the club’s long-term plan for strategic sustainability and growth and the positive connection to the local community. Sunshine Beach SLSC’s Warick Redwood took out the DHL Volunteer of the Year award. Redwood introduced some innovative programs at the Queensland club resulting in a boost in youth membership by 60 per cent. Surf Life Saving Australia also welcomed two new life members, with Burning Palms SLSC stalwart Peter Pearce rewarded for his 49 years of service at all levels of the movement, and Broadbeach SLSC’s Mark Fife, on a history-making night for the SLSA Chair of Lifesaving. Fife was also inducted into the SLSA Hall of Fame, after being the national Lifesaver of the Year and Volunteer of the Year in previous years. He is the first person to have ever received all four awards.
“I see the award as a reflection of what we are doing in Victoria, providing and building on a very professional service.”
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of meritorious awards to 15 noteworthy lifesavers for outstanding rescues performed throughout the season. Editor's note: APOLA were not able to be reached to supply their awards of excellence results.
DHL Lifeguard of the Year runners-up Alex Daw Australian Lifeguard Service, SA Alex has been a highly valued member of a small lifeguard service for a number of years, providing core and extended lifeguard services. He has assisted with the training and delivery of lifeguard programs and services as well as coordinating Holdfast Bay lifeguards, being a role model for those in his local area.
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Jorge McCulloch Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD Jorge is a role model to both the youth and senior lifeguards in the North Barrier Region, due to his professionalism and dedication to his role. He has initiated scenario-based training for lifeguards during shifts to ensure lifeguard skills are up to date as well as assisted with proficiencies and training to help the trainers and assessors when assessing competencies.
DHL Lifeguard of the Year Luke Plant
rowing up on Phillip Island was the perfect training ground for Victoria’s Luke Plant—winner of this year’s DHL Lifeguard of the Year award.
With sand dunes as his childhood backyard and always having a love of water-related activities—surfing, swimming, sailing or board paddling—it makes sense that Plant was attracted to lifeguarding. “I think it would have been the season after doing my Bronze that I realised being a paid lifeguard would be a great summer job. I had seen the guys working at Woolamai—their skills and lifestyle really appealed to me,” Plant explained. Plant has been a professional lifeguard with Life Saving Victoria for six years, and during the past year he has taken on the role of Chief Lifeguard at Phillip Island. He restructured the Cowes lifeguard service, enabling the beach to be open and patrolled while search and rescues are underway, and was accepted into the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter team. Currently studying medicine, Plant moves back to Phillip Island every summer, as well as visiting whenever he can. “In recent seasons I have had to do a little study to make sure I go back to uni without forgetting everything. I have one year of medicine to go in a post-graduate course at Melbourne University, so that takes up a fair chunk of my time during the year,” he said. "Winning DHL Lifeguard of the Year has been a surreal experience for me. I strive to do a great job over the summer and I’m always looking at how we can improve things, but I really love the work so it comes quite easily. I see the award as a reflection of what we are doing in Victoria, providing and building on a very professional service, as well as my experience and the things I’ve learnt at Woolamai Beach SLSC.”
Mark Pattrick Australian Lifeguard Service, WA Mark is a highly valued member of the lifeguard service. He was involved in a number of surf rescues during the 2014/15 season, enabling him to achieve the Western Australian State Award for Lifeguard of the Year in 2015. Mark goes above and beyond to mentor, encourage and motivate other lifeguards.
Ken Walsh Australian Lifeguard Service, NSW Ken is a dedicated and hardworking lifeguard. He fostered a great working relationship with all the surf clubs in the Shoalhaven area, police, ambulance service and fire brigade, including them in the Lifeguard Training Day. He is continually providing beach education through either the media or talking to members of the public about surf safety. Australian Lifeguard Magazine 53
Rescue recognition Quick action from off-duty lifeguards is awarded rescue of the month
n Friday 12 December 2014, off-duty ALS lifeguards Danny Smyth and Peter Geall were surfing Cape Naturaliste in the Yallingup area when a body boarder paddled out into the 1.8-metre swell with them.
A short while later, Smyth spotted the body boarder lying supine in the water. He paddled in and supported the casualty while signalling Geall. The two lifeguards then transported the casualty clear of the surf zone and over the shallow reef—using the body board as an improvised spinal board. After a thorough investigation of the casualty’s injuries it was clear he would need immediate medical treatment—he was complaining
outcome The rescued man's injuries included four fractured vertebrae and a compressed c-spine, the severity of which meant he spent four days in hospital in Perth for further tests, and in a neck brace for three months.
of severe back pain, had very limited movement, and was experiencing a tingling sensation in his extremities. While Smyth remained with the casualty to reassure him and monitor his condition, Geall ran the 2km, soft-sand beach to the car park to summon help from local surfers, and lifeguard Janek Ferrandi who called an ambulance. The group returned to the casualty and, with instruction from the lifeguards, were able to log roll him onto a surfboard and carry him out before the ambulance arrived. The patient was then transferred onto a spinal board and into the ambulance. The three lifeguards were able to utilise their skills and knowledge from working as professional lifeguards to ensure the casualty, a local teacher from Busselton, was provided with due care and attention. Doctors commented that without the level of spinal management he had received, a more permanent injury could have resulted. Stuck in a dangerous part of the surf break alone, it is likely he wouldn’t have been able to get out of the water—reliant only on the slight chance of someone out for an early morning walk on a remote stretch of coastline. The lifeguards were able to make it to the morning patrol, slightly more tired than normal!
“… he was complaining of severe back pain, had very limited movement, and was experiencing a tingling sensation in his extremities.”
Sutherland Shire Lifeguard Honoured For Rescue
ichard Garnsey’s effort to rescue three people in two separate incidents at Cronulla in December 2014 was recognised with the Rescue of the Year award at the 2015 Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence in Sydney.
On Friday 12 December 2014, conditions were quite heavy with 10ft swells and strong winds. Garnsey, a Sutherland Shire lifeguard, was flagged down by a group of body boarders who told him that a swimmer was struggling in a rip current about a kilometre offshore. After assisting the swimmer back to the beach safely, he was notified that two surfers were struggling off Cronulla Point.
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After alerting his supervisor he paddled back out in the swell. The surfers—a father and son—were in trouble as their leg ropes had snapped. Neither of the pair was a strong swimmer, and they were clinging to one board. The trio battled the conditions for over 15 minutes until another lifeguard, John Lavers, was able to reach them and in separate attempts returned them all safely to the beach.
Online Lifeguard Reporting
ast season, Life Saving Victoria (LSV) introduced a new process to allow patrols to sign on and off online, enabling clubs and lifeguards alike to have more available radio airtime and improved efficiency to focus on core critical lifesaving operations.
The new system, called LIMSOC, meaning ‘Lifesaving Incident Management System and Operations Console’, is designed to streamline the lifeguard service sign on/off process and provide more efficient and spatially aware incident management. The system ensures the right people have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. LIMSOC is userfriendly, for services on all platforms including computers, tablets and smartphones. Since 2011, LSV lifesavers have been provided with the ability to sign on and off with LSVComms online. In addition this year, lifeguards were also able to report rescues online including the precise location using an interactive map. These additional features minimise non-essential radio traffic across the state, reducing the workload for LSVComms operators, and enables lifeguards to focus on important patrol operations for a more efficient service.
The LIMSOC system also significantly improves LSVComms incident management capabilities, allowing LSV communications operators to track incidents and the location of available resources. These advancements provide a platform to better coordinate incident management with other emergency services. It ensures the most appropriate response can be made in the event of an incident away from a patrolled location. The system also allows for statistics and data to be collected, with incident ‘hot spots’ displayed on the interactive map in real time, allowing for targeted prevention in high-risk locations and redeployment of resources as required.
The system has a number of pre-loaded locations, including emergency markers, beach markers and beach names as well as other clubs, services and points of interest.
“The system ensures the right people have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions.”
health & Fitness
Watch Your Mate’s Back
ver exposure to the sun's ultraviolet light causes 95% of melanoma or skin cancer. That’s pretty clear evidence that prevention is the key to avoiding it. One-third of all melanomas are detected by partners, friends or family. For men, the most common site is the back and for women it’s the legs. This summer, watch out for your mates when it comes to preventing and detecting melanoma. The Melanoma Institute Australia says there are three vital ways to fight skin cancer: prevention, detection and action.
Prevention The best way to prevent melanoma is to protect your skin from the sun. Use the five skin savers: 1 Seek shade, especially in the hottest part of the day. 2 Wear sun-protective clothing that covers your back, shoulders, arms and legs. 3 Wear a broad-rimmed hat. 4 A pply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30+ every two hours and after swimming or exercise. 5 Wear wrap-around sunglasses.
Detection Melanoma is a potentially fatal form of skin cancer that starts from the pigment cells (melanocytes) of the skin. Checking your skin regularly, and knowing what to look for, could save your life. Look out for: • Asymmetry: One half does not match the other. • Border irregularity: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
• Colour variegation: The colour is not the same all over, but may have shades of brown, black, red, white or blue. • Diameter: The area is larger than 6mm or growing larger. • Evolving: Changing in size, shape, colour, elevation or another trait (such as itching, bleeding or crusting).
Action As well as regularly checking your own skin, get yearly skin checkups from a doctor. Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world. However, more than 90% of melanomas can be cured if they are detected early enough. To find out more visit the Melanoma Institute Australia site, www.watchyourmatesback.org.au Source: Melanoma Institute Australia
W at e rcr a f t S n a p s h o t 2 0 0 4 –15
Analysis On average, at least eight people drown per year as a result of using non-powered watercraft. It’s the fourth highest number of drowning deaths for an individual activity. Rank
Average deaths per year
Average Fatality Rate
per 100,000 population
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
Type of Craft
Men aged 4%
Australian residents, surfers and body boarders Surfboard Body board Kayak/Canoe Kite surfing/Wind surfing Wave ski/Surf ski Other
Australian residents, paddlecraft users
Contributing Factors Unpatrolled locations No lifejacket use (paddlers and other watercraft) Rip currents Surfing/paddling alone
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015
Percentage of Population (%)
Surfing/Body Boarding Other Watercraft
15 14% 10
11% 9% 7%
12% 8% 8%
7% 5% 5% 3%
2014–15: NATIONAL PARTICIPATION IN COASTAL WATERCRAFT USE
• 1.7 million surfers • 1 million frequent surfers (at least once a month) • Occasional surfers average 8 hours per year • Frequent surfers average 279 hours per year • 1.4 million total watercraft users • 0.9 million frequent watercraft users (at least once a month) • Occasional watercraft users average 8 hours per year • Frequent watercraft users average 379 hours per year
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey 2015
Australian Lifeguard Magazine 57
education & training
The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia 30 years of putting smiles on dials …
ebruary 2016 marks the 30th birthday of the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia Inc (DSAA). An idea born of circumstance, which saw lifetime surfer Gary Blaschke—who had been most at home surfing solo, mid winter on the NSW south coast—become one of Australia’s most outspoken advocates for the disabled.
The DSAA has 15 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand, and sets world standards in taking the disabled into the ocean. The association has won Minister’s Awards for Water Safety, and believes in maintaining solid grass roots operations, always putting community first. Gary, now living on the New South Wales (NSW) Central Coast, is a passionate advocate driven by the lack of understanding from authorities, and the general community, as to what it’s like to live with a disability.
become part of the DSAA ‘Hands on Days’ either as a participant or volunteer. You can look them up at www.disabledsurfers.org for further details. Gary hopes that the introduction of the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014 will change the attitudes of many authorities, including Government departments and local government, which all need to have in place a Disability Inclusion Plan to begin the process of total inclusion in our communities.
He wants to make a difference for everyone with disability, mobility or aging issues— which comprise around 32% of Australia’s population. He has substantial hands-on expertise as the Hon. National President of the DSAA; Hon. Chairperson of Camp Breakaway, a Disability respite camp on the Central Coast; as well as President of the Northern Lakes Disability Tourism Precinct Committee Inc. With branches in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland, as well as one in New Zealand, there’s plenty of opportunity to
“The DSAA has 15 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand, and sets world standards in taking the disabled into the ocean.”
Rescues on the High Seas The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter heads offshore
n several occasions, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service has been tasked with flying offshore to assist major cruise liners transport passengers in need of hospital attention back to the mainland.
vessel is still moving and not stationary?” The reason for this procedure is that both the vessel and the helicopter are more stable when in motion. Prior to their arrival, the helicopter pilot radios the ship’s captain so that the vessel can move into a direction that faces the wind, which enables the aircraft to come up on the rear of the vessel and safely perform the winch.
A recent increase in rescues of this nature makes sense when you consider the development of the Asia and northern ocean cruise market over recent years. During cruise season, as liners travel up the coast, medical emergencies are encountered that require a higher grade of medical care than can be provided on board—which is when the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service may be called upon for assistance.
“With an increased interest in cruising along our coastline, we take the attitude that regardless of the location of a patient—whether land or sea—all patients are entitled to the elevated level of medical care that we can provide through our partnership with NSW Ambulance and NSW Health,” explained Kris Beavis, General Manager, Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
In November 2014, one mission saw the service fly 60nm (approx. 111km) off the coast of Ballina to the Sea Princess cruise liner to winch a female patient who was suffering abdominal pains from the vessel and transport her to the Gold Coast University Hospital. One of the interesting questions asked of the service once the mission was completed was, “Why is the winch performed while the
“The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service has been tasked on several occasions with flying offshore to assist major cruise liners transport passengers …” Australian Lifeguard Magazine 59
Lifeguard Snippets strategy 2012-15
students learn lifesaving skills with new app Life Saving Victoria has developed a water safety app for smart devices, which is aimed at preventing drownings.
AustrAliAn WAter sAfety strAtegy 2012-15 towards a nation free from drowning
Australian Water Safety Strategy The Australian Water Safety Council sets the Australian Water Safety Strategy. The prime goal of the strategy is to reduce drowning by 50% by 2020. The current strategy was for the years 2012–15. A new version of the strategy will be released in 2016.
There were 241 drowning incidents between 2000 and 2013 involving adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, including 41 fatalities.
The Everyday Lifesaver app targets years 7 and 8 students and features interactive animations and games, which teaches water safety, emergency responses and CPR skills.
“It can be challenging implementing drowning prevention strategies to secondary school students because of an increase in risk-taking behaviour and alcohol,” Ms Simpson said.
Life Saving Victoria’s General Manager of Education Services, Kate Simpson, said preventable drowning and aquatic-related injury are the leading cause of death and hospitalisation among adolescents aged 10 to 19 years in Victoria.
The app is being trialled across 20 Victorian schools and is free to download at iTunes and Google Play stores until March 2016.
Using the latest technology, this app teaches critical lifesaving skills and shows them how to identify risk around the water.
Staying SharkSmart In 2015, the NSW Department of Primary Industries launched a SharkSmart public awareness campaign for the NSW North Coast, as well as undertaking the North Coast Waters Shark Tagging Project to learn more about sharks in coastal waters. A SharkSmart app provides key information: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/sharksmart. The Government of WA is also helping people get SharkSmart. They have put together a website so everyone who loves to use the ocean—the surfers, swimmers and divers—can continue to do so: www.sharksmart.com.au
Operations Centre an advantage For NSW Lifeguards In June 2015, the new Surf Life Saving NSW Northern Operations Centre opened to great fanfare in Port Macquarie, and as it moves into its first summer the state’s lifeguards are already seeing the benefits. The new facility is a significant regional development that will provide greater training, education and sporting opportunities to lifeguards and lifesavers throughout the north of the state. The centre is the result of generous joint funding from the NSW and Federal Governments. Australian Lifeguard Service Supervisors attended their annual induction day at the new hub last September, and by all accounts it was widely regarded as a successful first test. “Having this facility makes a huge difference to our lifeguards based along the North Coast and beyond,” Australian Lifeguard Service NSW Manager Brent Manieri said. “The new facility has enough space to meet all our needs, and its modernity allows us to train lifeguards in a first class environment.” The area has become something of a hub for emergency service workers with Surf Life Saving NSW being the latest agency to set up facilities in the area, alongside the SES.
Contracts extended in NSW The professionalism of NSW lifeguards has been recognised by a number of councils around the state who have elected to extend their service agreements with the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS). In the 2015/16 season, Shoalhaven City and Port Stephens Councils have signed on for another five years, while agreements with Tweed Coast Holiday Parks and Parramatta City Council to provide lifeguards for North Kingscliff Beach and Lake Parramatta have also been reached. ALS NSW Manager Brent Manieri sees this as a huge vote of confidence in the skills of the state’s lifeguards. “We work hard and invest a lot of time to develop positive working relationships with councils we deal with across the state, and the fact they have opted to continue their agreements with us is a testament to the quality and professionalism of our people. “Last patrol season ALS lifeguards kept watch on 83 beaches, two resorts, and in a first for the organisation, one lake in NSW. From late September, lifeguards will once again be out in force on the state’s beaches, keeping a vigilant eye over beachgoers,” he said.
New Website, New Era For ALS A new website for the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) has had an impressive start, ensuring a strong presence in the digital space. The rationale of creating a new website was to give the Australian Lifeguard Service a united platform, as well as become a key online destination for those seeking employment as a lifeguard. The website also hosts individual state and territory pages for local news content, job advertisements, and rescue statistics. ALS NSW took on the job of constructing the new website on behalf of all states and will manage ongoing hosting of the site. Around a third of the total page views have been on the Lifeguard Employment page, suggesting that prospective lifeguards are really engaging with the site.
Byron’s popularity as a premium holiday destination showed no signs of slowing during the cooler months with over 200,000 people attending Main Beach in the period from late April to mid-September. Lifeguards were stationed on the beach between 9am and 5pm, seven days a week with the priority of ensuring the safety of all visitors regardless of whether they were swimming, surfing, using the sand for recreational activities or boating in the area.
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson welcomed the positive report on winter beach patrols and recreation. “The local lifeguards on the beach are great ambassadors for our area and being able to provide a safe environment is a key council service that we proudly fund,” he said. On Byron’s Main Beach there were 11,143 preventative actions taken by lifeguards during winter with 10 rescues conducted. Lifeguards were also called upon 38 times to use their first aid training, treating everything from marine stings, fractures, and suspected spinal injuries through to administering oxygen therapy.
LSV receives community award In September 2015, Life Saving Victoria was awarded a Resilient Australia Community Award for its drowning prevention initiative, Helping Older Adults Become Everyday Lifesavers. The program, targeted
Western Australia too has benefited from the new website, and were strong supporters of the need to have a national site. “The upgrade of the website has certainly proved beneficial to those lifeguards applying this season as the information provided is easily accessible, up to date and the online application is uncomplicated,” ALS WA Lifeguard Operations Officer, Simon Peppler, said.
“We are delighted with the response that we have had to the new website with current and prospective lifeguards now able to access all the relevant information
Byron Lifeguards Enjoy Successful Maiden Winter Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) were kept busy at Byron Bay’s Main Beach throughout the first full-time winter patrol.
in an easy to navigate location,” ALS NSW Lifeguard Administration Officer, Jane Dunwoodie, said.
specifically at people aged over 60 years, aimed to address the high rates of preventable drowning deaths in this age group by building water safety knowledge and skills among elderly people.
Conferences 2016 6–11 March 2016 International Coastal Symposium 2016 Crowne Plaza, Coogee Beach http://ics2016.org 30–31 May 2016 Australian & New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference Jupiters Hotel, Gold Coast http://anzdmc.com.au 1 June 2016 Australian & New Zealand Search & Rescue Conference Jupiters Hotel, Gold Coast http://sar.anzdmc.com.au 30 August–1 September 2016 AFAC16 Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre www.afacconference.com.au 18–21 September 2016 Safety 2016 World Conference Tampere, Finland www.thl.fi/en/web/injury-prevention/ safety-2016 Australian Lifeguard Magazine 61
Powercraft Training Manual World Conference on Drowning Prevention More than 400 delegates from almost 60 countries attended the World Conference on Drowning Prevention held in Penang, Malaysia, in November 2015. They key themes were prevention, data, rescue, disaster, treatment and partnerships. Presentations ranged from improvements in lifeguard techniques and technologies to the latest advances in resuscitation and community resiliencebuilding initiatives. Peter George AM, one of Surf Life Saving Australia’s longest serving members, received one of the highest international accolades awarded by the International Life Saving Federation. He was made a Knight in the Order of Lifesaving at the World Conference. “I feel very proud to receive this honour. I do it because I love it, never for the recognition, but it is always nice to be recognised,” Mr George said.
The 8th edition Powercraft Training Manual has just been released. It has been completely revised by a panel of subject matter experts from around Australia to ensure that the techniques shown in the manual reflect best practice in inflatable rescue boat and rescue watercraft operations. Changes from the previous edition include: • new images reflecting SLSA’s policy on the wearing of lifejackets • a restructure of the order of information presented, e.g. all pre- and post-operation duties are contained in the same chapter • a separate chapter on IRB rescue techniques • more detailed information on the crewing of RWCs. The manual can be purchased from the SLSA online shop. To access the shop, login to the SLS Members Portal. Non-members can contact SLSA Reception on 02 9215 8000 to purchase copies.
New ALS Uniform In December 2015, the Australian Lifeguard Service Queensland (ALSQ) introduced a new uniform for its lifeguards across the state. Following the 2012 ALSQ Lifeguard Conference, Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) Lifeguard Advisory Panel decided to review its lifeguard uniform. The process included discussions about style and branding, as well as consultation with lifeguards, volunteers and professional staff. The new uniform meets the International Lifesaving Society standards and has approval and endorsement from the Queensland and National Lifesaving Committees and National Lifeguard Working Group. The new uniform ensures lifeguards can be identified on the beach while continuing to maintain the iconic red and yellow colours. The ALSNSW has been wearing this uniform for a number of years in select councils, and will look to adopt it statewide. ALS lifeguard services in other states are assessing their options.
Celebrating 25 years of saving lives Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) professional lifeguards are celebrating 25 years of saving lives on Townsville beaches and, in recognition of the milestone, the state’s peak authority on coastal safety will present the Townsville City Council with a Lifesaving Excellence Award for its outstanding support. SLSQ’s Australian Lifeguard Service has been patrolling beaches across the region since 1990, with lifeguards currently watching over 10 locations across the Townsville area. In 2014/15, they performed 12,428 preventative
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actions, treated 929 first aid cases and, most importantly, rescued 62 swimmers. Lifeguard supervisor Russell Blanchard said the council’s support over the past two-and-a-half decades had allowed SLSQ to implement key lifesaving and beach safety services across the region. “The relationship between Surf Life Saving Queensland and the Townsville City Council has certainly grown from strength to strength across the past 25 years, and it’s allowed us to take a strong, proactive approach to beach and aquatic safety within the region,” he said.
Coronial Inquest into Rock Fishing Deaths In July 2015, after an inquest into nine New South Wales (NSW) rock fishing deaths that have occurred since 2012, the NSW coroner recommended that wearing lifejackets be made mandatory for rock fishers. The coroner also recommended that the legislation be accompanied by an education campaign and improved signage at blackspot drowning locations. These recommendations reflect the Research Review of Rock Fishing in NSW report that SLSA released in 2012 and follows years of advocacy from SLSNSW and other stakeholders.
n at i o n a l c o a s ta l Drowning snapshot 2 014 –15
COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS
16% 27% 9% AT THE BEACH
AT LEAST 5KM FROM A LIFESAVING SERVICE
MEDICAL CONDITION OR INJURY
13% ROCK FISHING
Reference: SLSA National Coastal Safety Report 2015