Thanks 'means the world' to life-savers

LIFESAVERS patrolling Ballina Shire beaches have enjoyed a pretty good summer so far with no major incidents or drownings along our coastline.

Lennox Head and Ballina Surf Life-Saving Club presidents, Geoff Harris and Craig Nowlan said no major rescues have unfolded on our beaches.

The news is a credit to the efforts of our volunteer surf lifesavers during the busy summer period, which saw at least 150 people in the water at any one time at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina on Boxing Day.

Mr Nowlan said Ballina's club volunteers have responded to "the odd, minor incident" throughout the season but nothing serious.

But how often do our guardians of the beach receive a vote of thanks from those whose lives they have helped?

In his 56-year career as a surf-lifesaver, Mr Harris said "not a lot" of people rescued thank life-savers on patrolled Lennox beaches.

"Some people do, some people don't and some people come back and say thanks later but we don't get a lot of those either," Mr Harris said.

It's a different story for Lennox Head SLSC life-saver, Sam Miller who said she's been thanked most of the time by those she's helped.

While both club presidents and Ms Miller emphasise the job isn't about being thanked, they did identify embarrassment as a factor driving people to sometimes scurry off after they return to the safety of the shore.

Mr Nowlan recalled rescues where he's pulled struggling swimmers into the IRB boat who have asked life-savers to drop them further down the beach to avoid facing the crowds.

Ms Miller said beach-goers should try to channel their embarrassment into learning how to better read ocean conditions and educate others about water safety.

At the end of the day, Ms Miller feels thankful she's in a position to help others.

"You just feel thankful yourself that you're able to help someone else and put your training to use," she said.

In saying that, Ms Miller said gratitude goes a long way with surf life-savers or any emergency responder.

"Appreciation and a bit of thanks doesn't go astray, that would mean the world," she said.



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