Life­guards join crew for sum­mer peak

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Sport - Jack­son Lavell-Lee

Smiths Beach Surf Life Sav­ing Club is pre­par­ing for a busy sum­mer sea­son with the in­duc­tion of two new lo­cal paid life­guards, Blake Gar­nett and Rein Mor­gan.

SLS WA hires life­guards, mostly from Perth, to pa­trol pop­u­lar beaches in the South West where swell, rips and reef can spell dan­ger for vis­it­ing swim­mers.

Newly ap­pointed SLS WA re­gional man­ager Will Dwyer said lo­cal knowl­edge of beaches such as Smiths, which has a shal­low reef break and dan­ger­ous rips, was vi­tal to ef­fec­tively pa­trol the beach.

“Lo­cals can train to be­come paid life­guards at Smiths,” he said.

“Pre­vi­ously lo­cals may not have known or didn’t try to be­come life­guards, but it’s an im­por­tant job to the com­mu­nity es­pe­cially in sum­mer.”

Smiths SLS has dou­bled its com­mit­ment of vol­un­teer pa­trol hours from 65 up to 130 hours this sum­mer.

The in­crease in both paid and vol­un­teer life­guards is part of an ef­fort to pro­vide safe con­di­tions for those who want to swim at the pop­u­lar surf beach.

New Smiths life­guard Blake Gar- nett drove from Syd­ney in 2017 and said his ex­pe­ri­ence life­guard­ing at busy Syd­ney beaches had pre­pared him for the sum­mer tourism sea­son.

“I am pas­sion­ate about life­sav­ing and surf­ing, I think they go hand in hand,” he said.

“We all share the beach and for the pub­lic’s safety, it’s very im­por­tant to have peo­ple down here who are con­fi­dent and qual­i­fied.”

Mr Gar­nett said he found out about the life­guard course through a Face­book post a friend for­warded to him; the bronze medal­lion com­ple­mented his de­sire to be­come a surf in­struc­tor.

Pic­ture: Jack­son Lavell-Lee

Blake Gar­nett pa­trolling Smiths Beach.

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