April may mark the end of the lifesaving season, but despite regular patrol services winding down, Life Saving Victoria (LSV) will remain busy across the 360 degrees of lifesaving throughout the cooler months.
This month, I had the pleasure of being a guest speaker at the final session of LSV’s 18-25 mentor program. It is inspiring to see our current leaders supporting our future leaders to enhance their leadership skills and boost their knowledge and confidence. Thank you to both our mentors and mentees for your dedication to not only self-growth, but the growth of our clubs and wider organisation.
I joined our athletes and supporting members including officials, coaches and team managers travelling north to the Gold Coast for The Aussies, the largest event of its kind, and comparable in size to the Commonwealth Games. To see our Victorian athletes putting their rescue-ready skills to test against Australia’s best lifesavers in challenging conditions was fantastic, and I was so proud of our collective efforts as a state to bring home 11 gold, 11 silver and 12 bronze medals. Incredibly, we made it in to more than 70 Australian finals across water, beach, surf boat, lifesaving and boardriding disciplines; and also had eight officials recognised for 20, 30, 40 and 50 years of service to Surf Life Saving Australia. Congratulations everyone on your enormous achievements on the national stage.
LSV’s education team hosted the inaugural Inland Waterways Forum at Echuca, which was focused on managing waterway risks and exploring further opportunities in regional Victoria while showcasing the successful bush nippers program. With 47 per cent of drownings in 2021-22 taking place at an inland waterway, the importance of highlighting river and inland waterway safety cannot be underestimated.
On 16 April I had the pleasure of attending Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club’s Pink Patrol high tea, which not only celebrated the many contributions and achievements of women in lifesaving, but also raised funds and awareness for breast cancer. I am constantly in awe of our volunteers’ dedication to support not only the humanitarian movement of lifesaving, but beyond – and the afternoon tea was absolutely amazing into the bargain!
Although some were able to relax and refresh over the Easter period, many of our volunteers were still putting in an enormous effort to patrol popular locations across the state as visitors flocked to the regions for the Easter long weekend. As always, thank you for your service to help keep Victoria’s waterways safe. It’s now your turn to put your feet up, relax and enjoy a well-earned break.
Easter Monday marked three years since we tragically lost Port Campbell SLSC members Ross and Andrew Powell, who passed away while conducting a rescue mission in April 2019. This continues to be a significant and heartbreaking loss that we feel across the LSV family. Lifesavers and clubs across Victoria came together for a minute of silence facing the water to remember Ross, Andrew and all those who have lost their lives during active lifesaving service. On behalf of LSV, I extend my thoughts to Ross and Andrew’s families, friends, Port Campbell SLSC and their community.
After the Easter break, we marked ANZAC Day, with several of our clubs being invited to participate in community dawn services to reflect on and remember the brave service men and women who gave their lives for our country, as well as those in active service today.
As the patrol season ends, I thank all of our more than 43,000 members who spent their summer helping to keep people safe at our beautiful waterways and recognise those who will continue their dedication to lifesaving, personal development and training throughout the winter period. I look forward to celebrating your outstanding achievements and commitment to your communities at our three Valuing Volunteer Events to be held next month during National Volunteer Week, and later in the year at our Awards of Excellence.