Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward MP and Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock has today announced that local surfers across our region now have the opportunity for further training by participating in the Surfers Rescue 24/7 program coordinated by Surfing NSW.
Mr Ward said that Surfing NSW has been awarded $134,000 funding from the NSW Government’s Water Safety Fund to support the Surfers Rescue 24/7 course.
“Surfers are an untapped resource, and with 36 drownings last summer alone it was clear we needed to look at new and creative ways to keep people safe,” he said.
“The program will be rolled out across a number of beaches over summer and into 2019 including Bombo, Port Kembla, Woonoona, Bulli, Culburra, Bendalong and Narrawallee”.
Mr Ward has encouraged local surfers to consider undertaking the free training.
“This is a fantastic course teaching board rescue, where surfers learn techniques to bring someone safely back to shore, and CPR training conducted by Surf Life Saving NSW.
“Over 7,000 surfers have already been trained, and with this funding almost 2,000 more will complete training, which means more people out there keeping people safe at local beaches,” Mr Ward concluded.
Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock said South Coast champion surfers including Tyler Wright, Owen Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons are role models to so many young people across the region, but these champions know all too well the perils of the open waters.
“With an influx of visitors expected to the South Coast in coming days, it is more important than ever that all beach goers are vigilant of water conditions. Experienced water users, such as surfers, play a vital role in helping keep those less-experienced swimmers safe.
“The NSW Government’s Water Safety Fund is just another way our government is working to ensure our waterways are safe,” Mrs Hancock said.
Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden said he is looking forward to continuing to build the rescue course further over the next year through a community of surf schools and board riders clubs.
For further information, please visit the website at: www.surfingaustralia.com/states/nsw.