Perfect storm for lifesavers

Scarborough surf life saver Adam Bennett. Picture: Marcus Whisson d408298
Scarborough surf life saver Adam Bennett. Picture: Marcus Whisson d408298

Club president Elise Irwin is urging people to be aware of their swimming capabilities if they plan on heading down to the beach to avoid a repeat of the 2011 summer season.

‘Two years ago we performed over 700 rescues, with the assistance of the Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) jet ski crew, in one day on the October long weekend,’ Mrs Irwin said.

She said the unpredictable surf at the start of the season, mixed with unprepared visitors, could be a dangerous combination.

‘The winter banks are often still in place creating the potential for strong rips and currents,’ she said.

‘Combine that with the first hot days, lots of visitors to the beach, generally people wanting to swim but are probably unfit from winter, and it can spell disaster.’

On last year’s Queen’s Birthday weekend, nearly 10,000 people turned out to enjoy the warm weather at Scarborough, keeping lifeguards and volunteers busy.

Most of the nearly 200 Queen’s Birthday holiday beach rescue actions occurred at Scarborough, which is one of the busiest beaches on the metropolitan coastline.

SSLSC club captain Jody Ballard has been involved in lifesaving for 15 years, including five years at Scarborough, and has helped pull many people from the water.

‘People often chose to ignore beach safety signs or chose to swim outside the red and yellow swimming flags,’ he said.

‘If people checked the signs and swam on a lifesaver patrolled beach between the flags, there would be a reduction in our workload as volunteers.’

– SSLSC is looking for recruits to help with their volunteer patrols. Interested people can contact the club on 9341 1011. Full training is given.