It can seem like an idyllic life, wandering across the beach, chatting to beachgoers, and keeping an eye out for anyone in trouble. But, even on ‘good days’ a surf lifesaver is surprisingly busy.
However, you may be surprised at how much work a surf lifesaver actually does. It will make you consider contributing to the Surf Life Saving Foundation’s community fundraising, especially when you realize that surf lifesavers are volunteers.
The Start Of the Day
At least one of the surf lifesavers will get to the beach early. Their job is to check the beach for hazards. This can range from syringes being washed up on shore to excess seaweed and a host of other issues. The surf lifesaver will need to evaluate anything they find and deal with it. This can involve closing part of the beach if necessary.
At this stage, there will be very few if any, beachgoers.
Once they are happy the beach is safe they can proceed to the tower.
A surf lifesaver will need to monitor the weather throughout the day. This ensures they are aware if bad weather is coming in and the public need to be informed. They will also check reports regarding sea activity in case there is anything that beachgoers need to be aware of.
While it is important to do this first thing in the morning it must be repeated throughout the day to ensure everyone stays safe.
Riptides are one of the most dangerous hazards at a beach. They can suck you out to sea and dramatically increase the risk of drowning. A good surf lifesaver will know the ocean floor and will keep an eye on the wind and strength of the sea. This will help them to identify the potential for rips and where they are likely to be.
By being aware of this they can pay extra attention to these spots and react faster if someone gets into difficulties.
A surf lifesaver will spend the day watching the sea and the people on the beach. Their job is to spot anyone having difficulties, whether they are in the water or on the shore. They can then assist them or direct their team to assist them.
This is the bit most people see and appreciate, saving lives.
Surf lifeguards will also spend time patrolling the beach and educating people. Many people arrive at the beach unaware of the dangers posed by rips and other sea/beach hazards. A surf lifesaver can help to educate people, giving them the information they need if they get into trouble. It could literally save their life.
Of course, surf lifesavers are also constantly updating their own training. On those days they may not be on the beach, but they will be honing their skills.
A surf lifesaver needs to be adaptable and still take care of their mental health. They never know when the conditions will change or someone will get into difficulties. They need to be ready for anything.