Media Release 3 May 2018 – Professional Ocean Lifeguards meet on the Coffs Coast

APOLA Media Release 3 May 2018
Professional Ocean Lifeguards meet on the Coffs Coast

Council Professional Ocean Lifeguards will gather in Coffs Harbour this Friday 4 May 2018 to attend the 22nd annual ocean lifeguard industry conference and workshop, Beach water safety programs and the role of knowledgeable bystanders.

“Given the spike in drowning numbers over the recent summer Professional ocean lifeguards will discuss not what makes for effective supervision and best peter millpractice in rescue, emergency care and community education, but also the possibilities for greater bystander involvement said National Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association President, Greg Hackfath, who is the Lifeguard Services Team leader at Coffs Harbour.

“Like previous conferences which have given rise to using modern medical approaches such defibrillation, the use of analgesic gases for pain management and suspected spinal trauma, there is always something new for professional lifeguards to consider when we gather annually to discuss ways of improving client management and thus reduce the risk of injury and drowning at our beaches, says Mr Hackfath.

“Educating the public to look out for each other is key. Especially getting locals, people who walk their dogs or surf or swim at our beaches regularly, to say something when they see someone walking into a potentially dangerous situation. A quiet word or a little bit of advice, maybe suggesting the person ‘go around the corner to a patrolled beach’ or to point out ‘rips are making it too dangerous for a swim today’ is local information that will help visitors to our beaches,” said Mr Hackfath.

The annual ocean lifeguard industry conference will also provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those ocean lifeguards gaining recognition through meritorious efforts when skill and quick thinking is the only difference between life and death.

APOLA NSW Vice President, Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, says that the pressure on ocean lifeguards to manage beach visitors is greater than at any other time he can remember and that the popular Network 10 prime time television series Bondi Rescue (now in its 13th season and a 6 time Logie winner), has not just been a godsend for community beach safety education, but has also helped viewers gain an insight into the skill and teamwork required of today’s Council professional ocean lifeguards.

“The challenge for all Councils who control and manage our beaches is to continually look to improve all aspects of their Lifeguard operations to ensure that lifeguard programs always address community education, risk management and care for our beaches while juggling the competing demands of different recreational activity.  The continued population shift to coastal areas and growth of water sports such as jet skis, kite boards and commercial activity in learn-to-surf and stand-up-paddle have impacted on the traditional role of Council professional ocean lifeguards. Community expectations these days are for Councils to provide capable, highly trained lifeguards with a full skill-set in risk management, rescue and conflict resolution,” said Mr Hopkins.

Guest presenters will include, Dr Rob Brander, Associate Professor UNSW who will showcase Rip Current Heroes (an award winning Markland Media film) and author of the paper Improving tourist beach safety awareness: The benefits of watching Bondi Rescue, Brad Whittaker with Seabob, Damien Woods presenting on Publically accessible rescue tube systems and Warren Young PSM on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Experience

Professional ocean lifeguards of course will remain on-duty year-round at our most popular beaches in the coastal regions of Newcastle, Wollongong and Coffs Harbour as well as numerous beaches in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Perth.

Media Photos/Interviews/Further Information
John Andrews 0408 855 267

Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association Inc. (APOLA)
ABN 40 537 467 685 Web
Mobile 0408 855 267