Dromana Bay Life Saving Club’s Steve Whelan is a true club workhorse, holding the titles of Club Captain, Chief Instructor and COVIDSafe Coordinator.
Now approaching his ninth season at Dromana Bay LSC, he was initially attracted to the sport side of the lifesaving movement after he grew up as a competitive pool swimmer and wanted to find a worthwhile way to utilise his swimming and water safety skills.
Soon after, he was working as part of Victoria’s lifeguard service at Mornington Peninsula clubs Portsea, Sorrento, Gunnamatta and Point Leo, as well as filling in a few shifts at Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Narrawong.
“I became Chief Instructor in 2016 when our then Chief Instructor Peter Doyle approached me and asked if I would like to take on the role,” Steve said.
“I was keen to learn more about lifesaving and wanted to help the club continue to grow and develop its membership base.”
As Chief Instructor, Steve works with Dromana Bay’s trainers and assessors to ensure members are enrolled in training courses and keep its members up to scratch to keep the public safe on patrol.
“I believe that as a trainer, it is vital we have our members trained to the current standard so our club and community can rely on them during patrols, should they be called upon to perform a rescue or assist in other ways,” he said.
“My favourite aspect of lifesaving is the family atmosphere it brings out in the club. When you join a lifesaving club and become invested in it, the club and its members become like a second family.
“That’s what I love about being a trainer, it is so great to watch members you knew as nippers develop and become patrolling members. It is very rewarding to know that you have helped them in their lifesaving journey.”
When he’s not busy training others, Steve is ticking qualifications off his own list, holding his Bronze and Gold Medallions, Inflatable Rescue Boat Crew and Driver certificates, Advanced Resuscitation/First Aid, Spinal Management, Basic Beach Management and Trainer and Assessor qualifications.
“Having all of these awards and qualifications makes me a valuable and highly regarded club member with a wealth of lifesaving experience and knowledge,” he said.
“Members are always looking up to me for advice and inspiration and I love being able to pass on the knowledge and help shape our club.”
Most recently, Steve helped Dromana Bay bring its first ever IRB racing team to compete at Mordialloc during May, an idea that was born when Steve and other members decided they wanted to continue their lifesaving activities through the winter.
“It’s taken a lot of effort to get a team together, but we are all so thrilled to be present at the carnivals and represent our club.
“IRB racing is such a great sport to be involved in, not only do you get to race and drive fast in the boats, you also get to refine your skills.
“Our main goal for the season is just to have fun, whilst gaining experience and learning from other teams, the other clubs have been more than happy to help us out and everyone has been made to feel welcome.”