Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) volunteer member Shannon Tierney followed her dad Paul ‘Frog’ Tierney into lifesaving sixteen years ago aged six.
She’s now patrol captain, senior bronze camp instructor and a valued member of the Ocean Grove EF Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) racing team, competing next in Lorne on May 25/26.
For her, lifesaving is all about trust: “The public trusting the lifesavers, trusting your team-mates and our mentors being able to trust us to handle any situation.”
Read all about her lifesaving journey:
Volunteer Role: Patrol Captain, Bronze Camp Senior Instructor
Current Club: Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club
How long have you been involved in lifesaving?
I started as a nipper when I was 6, so 16 years.
What made you become involved in lifesaving?
The reason I got into lifesaving was because of my dad, Paul ‘Frog’ Tierney, who has been involved in lifesaving for many years now as a keen ski competitor and coach. The reason I have stuck around is because of the opportunities and community I have gained.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club?
Mentoring the younger generation through bronze camps; being a senior competitor and being a patrol captain; educating the public on water safety; organising social events and training sessions catered to all abilities, in order to encourage and include the young adults of the club.
What do you most enjoy about lifesaving?
It is so much more than just a summer hobby and has given me so many opportunities to develop professionally and personally. It’s my summer and winter sport and I really enjoy competing with and against my friends. It is a challenging, but rewarding, job and it has enabled me to gain multiple qualifications, which I never could have achieved without the support of the surf club. It has encouraged and enabled me, and so many other young females, to become leaders in their own clubs through programs such as the Female Leadership Network and Pink Zinc. It is an amazing way of giving back to my community, which means so much to me, but most of all, I have made many friends of all ages in not only my club, but clubs all around the country.
How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?
It doesn’t matter what age, gender or ability you are, there is something for everyone in a surf club. They provide endless opportunities for people and are a great way to make friends.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
Through my years, I’ve won medals and awards, but the thing I am most proud of is being part of such a supportive community and getting to help others achieve their goals.
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
I have the travel bug big time, so in the off–season I’m usually in another country. Or you’ll find me in the snow working up at Mt Buller.
What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?
“I’ve always said you can do anything you set your mind to Shan” – My mum, Andrea.