Sharon Bird was delighted to present North Wollongong SLSC with the January 2017 Rescue of the Month Award at a presentation ceremony for the Surf Life Saving Rescue of the Month Awards at Parliament House today.

The Parliamentary Friends of Surf Lifesaving Rescue of the Month award acknowledges the rescue deemed Australia’s most courageous that month.

During 2015-2016 Surf Life Saving active members were involved in more than 13,000 rescues, 57,100 first aid treatments and 1,408,500 preventative actions. Our volunteers delivered more than 1,330,000 volunteer patrol hours. Since Surf Life Saving (SLS) was established in 1907, over 640,000 lives have been saved.

Sharon Bird said that Illawarra lifesavers were again demonstrating in Canberra that they are amongst the best in the country with a total of five awards going to local Cunningham clubs in the past three years, including North Wollongong today.

“I love meeting with our local surf lifesavers.  They are passionate about the work that they do and about keeping people safe on our beaches,” Sharon Bird said.

“Patrol Captain Kevin Ryan spoke at the awards ceremony today and was also singled out by a parent of two club members for just how seriously he takes the responsibility of keeping a busy tourist beach like North Wollongong safe as well as the young members on patrol there.  He also received praised for his mentoring and dedication to training.

To date five Cunningham clubs have received the award with North Wollongong today, Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC in February 2017; Sandon Point SLSC in September 2014, Towradgi SLSC in January 2015 and Bulli SLSC in December, 2015.

January Rescue of the Month – North Wollongong SLSC

On Monday 2 January 2017, just before 5:30pm North Wollongong surf lifesavers successfully rescued four swimmers near the rocks at North Wollongong Beach.

  • Members of Patrol 4 were packing up after finishing an IRB training session when alerted to an incident at the northern end of the beach.
  • Lachlan Sweeney grabbed a rescue tube and swam out while Kieran McKay followed on a rescue board. Patrol Captain Kevin Ryan launched an IRB with Lachlan Kimberley and the help of some bystanders.
  • It became apparent that one man was losing consciousness and lifesavers prioritised his safety and lifted him into the IRB. Sweeny safely returned two of the struggling swimmers to the beach before Ryan and Kimberley picked up the last remaining swimmer in the IRB.
  • Oxygen therapy was administered to the swimmers on returned to shore, which improved the patient’s condition.
  • This rescue highlights teamwork and assertiveness shown by patrol four to save the lives of these beachgoers.