ACT News

South coast lifesavers kept busy by Canberra tourists

Months of winter training are paying off for lifesavers who have saved numerous Canberrans from trouble in the south coast surf. 

The volunteers have already responded to close to 100 incidents this summer, most of which were cuts and bruises or stings in the water. Nearly 70 people have been rescued from the water since the start of the lifesaving season in September.

Sam Sharkey of Malua Bay plays the role of troubled swimmer for surf lifesavers Kirsty Moore (front of the boat), and ...
Sam Sharkey of Malua Bay plays the role of troubled swimmer for surf lifesavers Kirsty Moore (front of the boat), and Josh Crouch (driving the boat) to practise their IRB rescues. Photo: Jay Cronan

Broulee Beach, south of Batemans Bay, has proved one of the busier beaches this year, with lifesavers responding to close to 40 incidents this summer, followed by Moruya, Narooma, Pambula and Malua Bay.

Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club president Kirsty Moore said most of her work had been educating Canberra tourists on how to stay safe in the swell. 

"We're the gateway to the beach so it's really nice that we have so many people down here at the moment," she said.

"Obviously in the holiday season there is a higher percentage of Canberra people than locals on these beaches."


Ms Moore, who can normally be found watching the popular Malua Bay beach, said a whole patrol of Canberra-based lifesavers also joined the effort during the summer months. 

"Lifesaving is whatever you want it to be and you can become anything from a first aid officer right up to your professional qualification to be a lifeguard," she said. "I think that's what so beautiful about the surf club."

Surf Life Saving director for Far South Coast, Andrew Edmunds, said he was pleased it had been a relatively quiet season so far. 

"It's mostly been a few cuts and grazes and stings but we had a 70-year-old woman who was also taken to hospital for heat stroke," he said.

Ms Moore repeated the advice of swimming between the flags but raised some concerns about drinking on the beach. 

"On our beach we don't see drinking a lot other than on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, but we're here to tell people when their behaviour is endangering others," she said.

"We're watching the beach as much as the surf to see what people are doing before they go in. 

"Every rescue we do because someone is intoxicated there may be a little kid in trouble that we cannot see because we are rescuing [the drinker]."

Ms Moore also encouraged swimmers to approach lifesavers if they wanted to learn more about the surf and safety. 

"If you've got any questions then come and ask us because a big part of our job is education and we're happy to help," she said