On behalf of the SLSSA Lifesaving Department, I would sincerely like to thank all of our lifesavers, lifeguards, members of our EOG team (Emergency Operations Group) and all of the club members that assisted in patrol duties over the season. This season has been one of our safest on the beaches for a number of years and in no small part is that due to the efforts of the volunteers that don the uniform week in, week out. THANK YOU!
This year saw our Clubs grow by one, as we welcomed the Beachport SLS in joining our family. A great effort by the team at Beachport in their first patrolling year and the club is continuing to grow. The club will be hosting an IRB carnival later in the year, watch out for the local knowledge to come into play when the gun goes off!
Our digital radio network came online this season. Although we had some bumps in the transition, this is a significant step forward for SLSSA which will set us up to take advantage of the future potential of digital communication technology. Further enhancements will be occurring in the offseason to be able to fully realise the capabilities of our network. I thank everyone involved for their patience over the summer. The Lifesaving Department and the SurfCom team are continuing to work on delivering on these improvements ready for season start. Stay tuned.
Our EOG teams continue to grow with a number of new members joining the Jet Rescue Boat service and Rescue Water Craft service. Westpac1 continued to provide aerial patrols throughout the summer. This was the first season that a dedicated SurfCom team manned the radio room. Our level of service within the radio room certainly was lifted through the year. If you would like to be involved in the EOG teams, keep an eye out for the EOI (expressions of interest) as they are released or talk to one of the team members on how to get involved.
Unfortunately, we were reminded of why we exist as an organisation, with two major incidents at Glenelg in December. Although the outcomes were unfortunate, they could have been significantly worse were it not for the efforts of those first responders. The training, skills, knowledge and professionalism on display at both incidents was quite humbling. Even more so as our members banded together to support one another after the event. A stark reminder to maintain our skills and proficiencies as we never know when we will get called upon. Thank you to everyone involved.
The Lifesaving Department also grew this year, joining the team, Sonya Williamson and Thomas Hession. The team now has more resources and capabilities to provide even better support to our clubs and services.
As the shadows grow long and the temperature cools down, please stay safe, enjoy the break and look forward to seeing you on the beach next season.
Ben Laurenson - Lifesaving Operations Manager