The LSV Rescue Water Craft (RWC/Jet Ski) lifeguard service has doubled its sites this season, improving the reach and flexibility of the service around Victoria’s coastline, thanks to state government funding.
Two of the new sites will operate in the Surf Coast/Bellarine area, to complement one of the existing services in that area. An additional service will also be introduced to the southern end of Port Phillip Bay, to add to the Northern and Central services already in place. These new services will provide great coverage around both bay and surf beach locations.
To prepare for the increase in services, 16 new RWC operators have been undertaking extensive training, predominantly on Surf Coast and Bellarine beaches.
One participant, Lachie Appleby, is refreshing his knowledge after a couple of years away from lifeguarding while he worked full-time as a carpenter in Melbourne.
“You see the lifeguards at the beach over summer and feel like you’re missing out by not being involved,” says Lachie. “I’m glad I’ve found some time this summer to be able to combine both jobs.”
He says one of the best things about the LSV RWC training has been the focus on practical-based learning.
“Any theory elements that could have been explained out on the water, have been,” says Lachie. “We were also able to come right out of the Barwon Heads base and choose which beach to go to based on surf conditions, which meant we could find the right conditions for what we needed to learn that day.”
Knowing and understanding the RWC’s limitations, as well as your own, has been a memorable learning outcome for Lachie from the training.
“Just because the Jet Ski can go 100km/hr, doesn’t mean you can,” says Lachie. “Learning where our limitations are to operate the Jet Ski’s safely has been a valuable experience.”
He says the group of lifeguards on the course all came from different areas and could learn from each other.
“Everyone has experience working on the beach, but we also have really different backgrounds – some are involved in education, some come from LSV Comms and others are from back in the office,” says Lachie, a member of Anglesea SLSC. “Some were even new to Jet Ski’s and surf conditions, coming from Bay beaches, but they picked it up really easily.”
Liam O’Callaghan, LSV Lifesaving Support Officer, was one of the trainers on the course and says it has a teaching focus on safe and responsible operating.
“It’s been a great group and watching the candidates progress from being very reserved on their first day through to being able to complete more technical manoeuvres, such as rescues in the surf zone, is always rewarding to see,” says Liam.
The group, all experienced lifeguards, has built on existing skill-sets to prepare themselves for the busy period post-Christmas at our beaches and on our waterways.