SURF lifesaving skills offshore and onshore served well the recipients of the Youth Bronze Medallion for Courage awarded by Premier Mark McGowan at City Beach SLSC on Friday.
“If you are not aware or have the knowledge of first aid and rescue techniques then you should, because you will never know when it may happen and you need them,” Surf Life Saving WA Coastal Bravery Awards medallion winner Elana Damianopoulos (16) said.
The Surf Life Saving WA Coastal Bravery Awards recognise lifesavers, emergency services and the public who have made outstanding rescues.
Elana had only just been trained at Floreat SLSC when she swam at least 75m offshore and stayed in the water for at least 30 minutes to rescue a swimmer at Moore River in 2014.
Before the emergency, she was told most of her rescues would be away from the club’s home beach, including at home, work, a shopping centre or on the street.
Nedlands resident and Christ Church Grammar School student Stanley MacFarlane (15) jumped from his father’s car to use his recently obtained lifesaving skills to resuscitate an elderly woman who had collapsed in Claremont in February. Reality was different from practice.
“It was very different from practising on a doll, and quite scary how lifeless she was,” Stanley said.
Gold Medallion winner for exceptional bravery and Balcatta Senior High School student Ulrich Snell (17) did not think twice when he dived in to rescue two friends and provided CPR at Scarborough Beach in September last year.
“At the time I thought that if I did nothing I was going to see my friends die,” Ulrich said.
Silver medallions for citizens’ bravery winners included Scarborough resident Dan Watson, who assisted in the rescue conducted by Ulrich Snell and Leederville resident Matthew Bailey who, with mate Gary Quintrell, rescued tourists twice swept out in a rip at Redgate Beach near Margaret River in November 2016.
A silver medallion went to City Beach resident Scott Bartlett for rescuing a surfer at City Beach in May last year and Scarborough surf lifesaver Ben Sowter received an Emergency Services silver medallion for rescuing three surfers in extreme conditions in Yallingup in November 2014.
“It’s testament to the people who receive the awards that they are prepared to risk their lives for people they don’t know,” Mr McGowan said. His own son was saved by surf lifesavers at Secret Harbour last year.