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Little surf lifesavers hit coast in Sydney

11-05-2012 16:05 BJT

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Young lifesaving trainees take to the water as the Australian Spring sees more people heading to the country’s beaches.

Future surf lifesavers on their first day of training. Their task is to wade through a wall of seaweed, and then battle waves higher than their own heads. Training for these "Nippers", as they’re known, can be physically challenging. But it reflects the responsibility that will come if they continue this into their teens and take up a post on a beach.

Young lifesaving trainees take to the water as the Australian Spring sees more people
heading to the country’s beaches.

Daniel Callaghan, Nipper surf safety trainee, said, "I’d love to be a lifesaver when I’m older and I’d like to do patrols and save people."

Most of Australia’s popular swimming beaches are patrolled by surf lifesavers. Every lifesaver has come through a training like the Nipper’s program, learning water safety and rescue procedures, as well as first aid. This can require training over a number of years, and so many start young. Coogee Beach in Sydney runs the country’s largest program. This year, over 1000 children have registered and paid a small fee for training that could have a huge impact.

Young lifesaving trainees take to the water as the Australian Spring sees more
people heading to the country’s beaches.

Doug Hawkins, youth co-ordinator of Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club, said, "We need to get these kids skilled up in surf awareness, surf safety so when they’re coming to the beach, they’re safe and then they can help their parents and their friends stay surf safe also. Australia is an island, we’ve got thousands of beaches. Wherever they go, we need to know they’re going to be safe."

In the meantime, adults are close by to give the newest recruits a helping hand. At 16 years of age, participants can become fully-registered surf lifesavers and patrol a beach, but only after completing a new round of training, and a written and practical exam. But for some, the chance to use their skills comes early.

Julien Vincent, surf lifesaver, said, "I’ve saved about five lives. My first life I saved was when I was thirteen as a cadet-lifesaver."

Each year, Australia’s surf lifesavers rescue around 12, 000 people - a big contribution to come from such tiny first steps.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source:

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