As lifesavers, we’re used to different challenges each season. Even so, nothing prepared us for the past season. But, with 211 COVIDSafe coordinators across the state, COVIDSafe plans and more controlled club environments, we’re ready to help our clubs and members adapt and rise to whatever challenges come next.
“It’s gearing up to potentially be our busiest season yet for beach visitation as lockdown restrictions lift and beachgoers head to the water with potentially less fitness and water safety practise than usual,” said David Potter, LSV’s Manager – Volunteer Support.
He says life saving clubs have really stepped up preparedness and are all positively moving ahead, which will be more important than ever this season to meet LSV’s drowning prevention mission.
Every club across the state has appointed COVIDSafe Coordinators, with 211 volunteers across our organisation trained in the processes, and fortnightly COVIDSafe briefings held to keep everyone up to date.
“As COVIDSafe is new to everyone, it’s even more important to facilitate this exchange of information so we can all move forward in the best way possible for all of our clubs,” said Mr Potter.
“One of our guiding principles for COVID planning is to make sure we keep the community and our members safe, that’s the underlying principle for everything we’re doing this season.”
Clubs often deal with similar issues, so the chance to get regular feedback and ideas from others on how to be COVIDSafe is proving very useful as part of the network.
What will be different this season?
Lifesaving operations will look slightly different to normal, with social distancing requirements and how patrols are managed adapted for COVID safety – including how members can interact with the public, as well as how to deal with first aid applications and major incidents.
“We encourage all members to have an understanding of their club’s COVIDSafe plan and find out how things have changed in their areas of interest, such as in sports or Nipper training,” said Mr Potter. “Things like group sizes and how to interact with age managers may be different this season.”
Mass participation events like club swims and fun runs may have moved to a virtual format, such as the Lorne Pier to Pub. This offers the chance to connect with your club mates and broader lifesaving community in a new and interesting way and we encourage everyone to get involved.
Another change will be on how open the club environment is this season. There are contact tracing measures, such as QR codes when you arrive, and it’s likely you’ll need to plan your trip and head to the club only when attending a session.
“It will be a bit more controlled than people are used to and we hope members understand why this is necessary and be accepting of these changes while they are in place,” said Mr Potter.
There are many resources for clubs and members around how to make a COVIDSafe season at www.lsv.com.au/clubcovidrecovery/, with the ultimate aim to keep the community and our members safe.
Get involved in lifesaving during this historic season
And while it may be a different kind of season, we’re encouraging new and old members to join “our clubs,” as part of the nationwide Surf Life Saving recruitment campaign “Our Club is Your Club”.
There is a place for everyone at the surf club and everyone is welcome, with a variety of roles both on and away from the beach for those who wish to volunteer.
Together, we’re in for a rewarding season of lifesaving to come for 2020/21.