Rescuers leave surf to teach our bush kids
TO THE RESCUE! Michelle Jacobson, Ann-Sophie Sullivan as Sandy the Surf Dog and Jacob Thomson travel around rural towns to talk about beach safety. FOR lifeguards Michelle Jacobson, Ann-Sophie Sullivan and Jacob Thomson, duty doesn’t stop when they leave the beach.
The three travelled to Monto State School, St Therese Catholic School, Muglidie State School and Mundubbera State School last week, to teach kids about surf safety through the Breaka Beach to Bush program.
“People who live 50km or more away from the beach tend to get into the most trouble when they are in the water,” Sunshine Coast lifeguard Mr Thomson said.
“We have found if we start teaching the kids how to be safe at the beach, that generally gets word to adults as well.”
The Breaka Beach to Bush program has been running since 2003 and it was the lifeguards’ second year being involved.
“We meet a lot of kids who have never seen the ocean before, and they just have so many questions about it,” Ms Jacobson said.
“We constantly get questions about whales, and lots of impossible situations. Like, what do I do if a shark bites off both my legs? And then I get caught in a rip, and then I lose my goggles and a surfboard hits me?
“We just tell them if they swim between the flags the lifeguards will always be there watching, and I think that makes them feel a bit safer.”
But the most surprising thing the lifeguards found was how many adults did not know about the flags and CPR.
“The kids do learn a lot in our talks though and I think that helps the adults become more aware. One mum told me her daughter talked to her for an hour and a half about our 45-minute talk,” Ms Sullivan said, with a laugh.