Two teenaged Mornington Life Saving Club volunteers have been recognised as Everyday Lifesavers for using their rescue-ready skills during the off-season to save a kayaker in distress at Mills Beach last month.
Awarded by the Play it Safe by the Water (PISBTW) Committee to people who have used their lifesaving skills to perform a significant rescue, the Everyday Lifesaver award recognises outstanding rescues undertaken in a safe manner that does not put the rescuer at risk.
Members Remme Mason (15) and Jess Shrimpton (15) were enjoying a paddle as part of their off-season fitness training on Thursday 23 September, when they noticed something floating about 400 metres out to sea.
From the shore, club captain and Jess’ father, Terry Shrimpton, monitored the object with binoculars, while the two lifesavers paddled out to investigate.
Quickly realising what they had identified was a kayaker in distress, Remme and Jess assisted him back to shore, while continuing to communicate with him to ensure he was conscious and responsive.
Once they got the man to safety, Remme, Jess and Terry, along with an off-duty nurse on the beach, monitored the man’s condition, identifying symptoms of hypothermia, including a shallow and rapid pulse rate, so they kept him warm and comfortable until an ambulance arrived.
Terry said he was very proud of the young members’ efforts and described it as a “textbook rescue”.
“Remme and Jess are two very impressive young lifesavers, they did everything by the book to ensure their own safety and the safety of their patient,” he said.
“It took them close to 30 minutes to get the man and his equipment back to shore, so by this point, we estimate he had been in the water for up to an hour. After they safely got him to shore, they implemented the appropriate first aid treatment for his suspected hypothermia until paramedics were able to take over.
“I’m a very proud dad and club captain that they were able to use their training and skills to save someone’s life, even while off-duty.”
LSV general manager lifesaving operations Liam Krige presented Remme, Jess and Terry with the Everyday Lifesaver award, in recognition of their efforts to save a life without endangering themselves or others.
“LSV applauds the brave actions of three of our Mornington Life Saving Club members Remme Mason and Jess and Terry Shrimpton to rescue a kayaker in distress at Mills Beach in September,” he said.
“We are particularly impressed by our young lifesavers, who were in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment to perform this rescue and get the man to safety without putting themselves or any members of the public in danger.
“LSV is grateful for Remme, Jess and Terry’s bravery and quick thinking, using their training and skills to rescue the man, but remind the public that you should only rescue someone struggling in the water if you are a qualified lifeguard or lifesaver and have appropriate safety equipment on hand.
“The last thing we want to see is someone who is trying to help getting themselves into trouble, or worse. Instead, if you see someone in trouble in the water, phone 000 immediately and alert lifesavers or guards if present .”
With the summer patrol season beginning on Saturday 27 November, watergoers are reminded to swim between the red and yellow flags at a patrolled beach wherever possible, so lifesavers and lifeguards can keep an eye on you.
Swimmers are also reminded to never swim alone, know and stick to their limits and to check the potential risks before visiting the beach at beachsafe.org.au or on the BeachSafe app.