Better known around the aquatic sports arena as ‘Cutch’, this month LSV spoke to Aquatic Sports Council Beach Representative and Fairhaven SLSC member Maurice McCutcheon.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club and roles in lifesaving?
My current role at my club, Fairhaven, is being one of a number of surf sports officials. My aim is to mentor others wishing to become an official. In the past I have sat on the Fairhaven SLSC committee covering the sports activities in our club.
When did you start participating in lifesaving and how did you first become involved?
Around 1984, my family built a holiday house at Airey’s Inlet on the surf coast and it wasn’t too long before our children became involved in the Fairhaven Nipper program. Not being one to stand back, I jumped in to help where I could and before I knew it I was headlong into the junior sports area and gained a Level 1 coaching certificate. This lead to working with the Victorian State Juniors team and instigating the Southern States Junior Development Challenge, initially between Far South Coast NSW, Tassie and South Australia.
The next step was to sit on the Junior Activities Council and the LSV Board for a number of years, where I gained a real insight to how lifesaving operated in Victoria, nationally and internationally.
Currently I am a member of the LSV Aquatic Sports Council and hold the position of Beach Representative. Being a Level 2 Surf Sports Official has given me the opportunity to officiate at the Australian Championships and world championships in Egypt, France and Adelaide.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in lifesaving? Would you recommend it to others, and why?
What I have enjoyed most about lifesaving, and in particular the junior area, has been to witness the growth of nipper programs from 7-14 years. These young people are getting involved and developing first aid, social and life skills through the leadership programs in Victoria, nationally and internationally. Many of these youth have continued on and become prominent members of their clubs, passing on the knowledge they have gained.
These are the reasons why I would, and do, recommend lifesaving to others.
What is the most important aspect of lifesaving, in your opinion?
For me the most important aspect of lifesaving is to encourage families with young children to learn to swim early, join a lifesaving club, and learn about water hazards on our beaches and waterways, while becoming part of the social fabric of an amazing volunteer movement.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
I have had many achievements in lifesaving so far. Having experienced being a director of Junior Activities in LSV and Surf Life Saving Victoria (prior to the inception of LSV), visiting countries overseas and assisting with their lifesaving activities are all highlights, but I think getting my Bronze Medallion at the age of 54 was a good achievement!
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
At a national conference a few years ago, each person was asked to introduce themselves and describe their involvement in lifesaving. I described my roles in Victoria at the time and concluded that “in my spare time I was a builder “.
What is your vision for lifesaving in the future?
My vision for lifesaving would be to encourage and see more diverse ethnic groups involved in our movement. I see their inclusion as a way of breaking down some of the barriers of living in Australia and enjoying the beach life many of us take for granted.
What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?
When I was young, my uncle Jack said to me: “You will never be a good footballer unless you can kick the ball with both feet.” There are so many parallels in that statement.