Lifeguards Ben Kirk, 20, and Nathan Boyle, 22, carry Matt Laverty, 20, as they train on Seven Mile Beach under the watchful eye of instructor and chief lifeguard Stephen Leahy.
Lifeguards Ben Kirk, 20, and Nathan Boyle, 22, carry Matt Laverty, 20, as they train on Seven Mile Beach under the watchful eye of instructor and chief lifeguard Stephen Leahy. David Nielsen

Lifeguards in training for summer

WHEN you are a professional surf lifeguard, there are good days and bad days.

Just ask Lennox Head boys Matt Laverton, 20, Nathan Boyle, 22, and Ben Kirk, 20, who yesterday did a ‘very tough’ physical training session in preparation for the summer season.

“It’s been pretty full on, but they just want to make sure everyone’s competent before we get out there,” Ben said.

The three locals were amongst 50 new and returning lifeguards who were involved in the training session on Lennox’s Seven Mile Beach yesterday.

The Australian Lifeguard Service’s chief lifeguard, Stephen Leahy, said the training was designed to be tough.

“It has to be, because emergency situations can and do happen,” he said.

“So we are putting them through their paces.

“Some of the younger guys and girls will feel the pressure of the surf conditions. And we will continue to test their skills and their decision-making ability over the next couple of days.”

Lifeguard ‘school’ continues today and tomorrow at Camp Drewe at Lennox Head, with the aim of selecting the best people to work on North Coast beaches during the summer months.

And it’s not all about physical fitness and rescuing skills.

Mr Leahy said the potential lifeguards were also being assessed on their aptitude, personality, ability to cope with stressful situations and communication.

“Not only do we want lifeguards to be skilled rescuers, but they must have the people skills to deal with many different situations,” he said.

Senior lifeguard Saul Duran, who normally works on Byron Bay’s Main Beach, said the training was an essential part of the job.

He has just returned from four months in England, working as a lifeguard on the Channel Islands, during the northern summer.

“Working in England was a fantastic experience and I’m going to do it again next year,” he said.

“But the conditions at Byron are a lot more testing. Byron is a tourist mecca.

“I’m following the summer around. Being a lifeguard is a great job.

“It keeps you fit and healthy as well.”

The lifeguards will also learn about beach management, public safety, advanced emergency care, law enforcement, incident control, and dealing with hazardous materials.



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