Troy Ross from the Woolamai Beach Surf Life saving Club
Our club made a grant to thier club for much needed life saving equipment, and Troy paid us a visit to show their appreciation and tell us of some of the dangers pf the surf.
Troy has been a member of the surf Club for 21 years. They have about 150 patrol members, all of whom have to re-qualify each year, through written and practical tests (both skill and fitness) Interestngly almost all members are are non-resident holidaymakers, but in recent years more locals are joining.
He explined that flags, denoting the safe patrolled part of the beach, are located wher the waves are rolling in; that is to say where the water flow is towards the beach. The water flows out, back to sea on either side of the incoming waves. This outflowing water looks quite calm and people often mistake this for a safer alternative to the breaking waves. It is not! This seemingly quiet, flat water, known as a rip, can quickly carry the unsuspecting out to sea. If you are caught nin a rip, the best thing is to let youself be carried out; it will dissipate in a "bowl" abot 150 metres out, and call for help from the patrolling lifeguards - raise your arm, you can be sure the patrolling guards will be watching out and you will be resued. Alterantively, swim across the beach, back to the surf area, wher it will carry you back to the beach.
The lessons are:
Swim only on patrolled beaches.
Avoid the "calm" water either side of the surf
If you get caught in a rip, don'tswim against it, and call for help.
In the subsequent discussion Troy said that their club would be happy to explore with us a day at the beach for some of the youth groups suggested,, and to host them for the day.