Guards rush to the rescue

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph

New figures have revealed the importance of Secret Harbour lifeguards to swimmers across Rockingham, with statistics detailing a number of life-saving rescues carried out over summer.

Responsible for patrolling a busy stretch of coastline that includes Secret Harbour Beach and further up the coast at Penguin Island, Surf Lifesaving WA Secret Harbour Lifeguard Service and Secret Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club volunteers have been keeping watch on the surf since late 2017.

Data from SLSWA for the December to February period highlighted more than 4000 preventative actions, 10 first aids and 19 rescues across the region.

January proved to be the busiest month, with January 8 a particularly significant day with lifeguards performing seven rescues as swimmers and bathers got into trouble as a result of big swells and strong rips.

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Rockingham lifeguard patrol captain Daniel Andrew said it had been a busy summer for the crews patrolling our beaches.

“The beach conditions haven’t been very favourable, so we’ve had lots of deep inshore troughs,” he said.

“There’s been lots of deep water and lots of rips on the beach, so it’s kept us quite busy this summer.”

Mr Andrew said some of the most common problems at the beach occurred when swimmers failed to swim between the red and yellow flags.

“Mostly, it would be people in rips, not swimming between the flags,” he said.

“We get lots of first aids with surfers injuring themselves or hitting each other on their boards.”

The 2017-18 patrol season also officially marked the first year lifeguard crews in WA, including Secret Harbour, implemented a drone surveillance program.

Surf lifesaving crews were able to use the drones to spot rips, sharks and swimmers in danger with high-definition cameras.

Mr Andrew said it had given the crew a valuable extra eye in the sky. “It’s given us that aerial surveillance, kind of a bird’s eye view of the beach,” he said.

“We’ve been able to spot rips easier — it’s given us an extra eye on the beach to see from a different perspective.”

Throughout April, the Surf Lifesaving WA Secret Harbour Lifeguard Service will take over seven days a week, from 6am to 11am, with crews also operating at Penguin Island for the April school holidays, from 10am to 5pm.

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