Written by Kerrie Alexander
Hervey Bay is well-known for its beautiful stretch of ocean front with calm waters that are a much-loved playground for thousands of visitors and locals alike.
However, where there is water, there is always risk!
That’s why it’s so important to have the Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving Club members patrolling our beaches and keeping the community safe, said President Darren Everard.
Surf lifesavers are usually first on the scene for aquatic rescues, providing first aid and emergency care and educating the public about the dangers of the surf and our local waters.
The beach also acts as classroom for the hundreds of Nippers who sign on for the junior program each year.
The Nippers gain confidence by passing the tests of swimming, board riding, beach sprints, dolphin-diving, spotting a rip, having fun with new friends and discovering things about themselves.
All under the guidance of their age managers.
“Our main aim is to ensure we work towards Surf Life Saving Queensland’s aim of Zero Preventable Deaths on Queensland’s public water ways,” Darren said.
“But for me as president, I am focused on two things; ensuring that the junior members of our club are given the opportunity to gain skills and confidence to assist them later in their lives and making sure that the Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving Club has a sustainable and successful future as the guardians of our beach in Hervey Bay.”
Surf Lifesaving is an iconic Australian institution that ensures the red and yellow flags go up for 33 weeks of the year on Saturday afternoons, all day Sunday and every public holiday.
To do that, Darren said more active patrolling members are needed to join the ranks.
The passionate president has been involved with the Bay club for over 20 years and in 12 years as a patrolling member, has clocked up over 1030 patrol hours spent standing between the flags, plus countless hours, undertaking water safety, bar and committee duties.
It takes a big commitment but, he said, the cause is well worth the effort.
“Personally, for me it is about the positive outcomes of being there to assist somebody when they get into trouble.
“Thank God for me there has always been a positive outcome. God willing there will always be a rescue and never a recovery.
“On the weekend we had a report of a lost child before we had started patrol and we had a parent show up at the club asking for help, and we assisted.
“In a very short period, we had members assisting the family and the child was found.
“The father was grateful, and he could not believe how fast we got involved.”
Darren said there are many opportunities for Fraser Coast residents to actively support the club.
“We would love to hear from members of the community who have a surf lifesaving background, and who are willing to comply with the modern requirements and give a little back so we can foster and create a surf club culture on a beach with our waves!
“We also encourage our patrolling members to get involved around the club and as we speak, we have a strong masters team forming, which is great.
“We are hoping our younger members will see our masters train and encourage their parents to get involved and sign up for their Bronze Medallion so we can grow our patrolling group and become more sustainable in this area.”
Parents of Nippers can also play an integral part in their child’s success as a future guardian of the Bay’s beaches.
The Nippers program is currently full; however, applications will open next season on August 1 and close on August 30.
“If you are a parent of one of our Nippers you are required to sign up for a task and assist … we want your children to see their parents involved and from my point of view I want the parent to invest in their children’s future.
“It will be the best investment a parent can make as it will benefit their child and family into the future.”
To find out more, visit the club’s website at herveybaysurfclub.com.au.