How these Bethells Beach lifeguards are keeping you safe this summer

by Vomle Springford / 21 December, 2017
Created in collaboration with TSB

Illustration by Anieszka Banks

Guarding lives

Meet two surf lifeguards looking out for swimmers this summer at Bethells Beach.

Over summer, as people hit the beaches to cool off, it’s great to know surf lifeguards from Surf Life Saving Clubs are on duty. Thanks to a $5000 grant from TSB (which supports Surf Life Saving New Zealand), the lifeguards at the Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving Club are getting extra first aid training this year. “It’s an essential,” says Dave Comp, a lifeguard and chairman of the club. “We’ve got to have qualified people. If somebody falls down in front of them, they should know what to do – whether it’s a sprain, or a heart attack. It’s good for new lifeguards, or old-school guys like myself who are still ticking along and need a refresher. It’s a hell of an expense – you can imagine trying to qualify a large chunk of people.” Here, we talk to a couple of the club’s lifeguards about their roles and how the grant will help them.

Ariarna Cartwright, lifeguard, 17 

How long have you been involved in the club?
I joined just after I turned 15, and this is my third season of lifeguarding.

What made you join?
One of the lifeguards there, I knew her growing up and she said, “why don’t you give it a go seeing as you love the water so much?” I went to a couple of the trainings and said, “yeah, this is what I want to do.” I’d always loved being at the beach and that’s how I got into it.

How will the grant from TSB help your club?
For me as an instructor, I’m helping train a lot of the new lifeguards, and a lot of them are my age or a little bit younger, so it’s given us the opportunity to be able to train up these new lifeguards and give us the skills that we need on the beach. We’re the next generation, so it’s good for us to have the skills. The funding just enables the club to get more people qualified, to have more experience, and therefore safer beaches.

How would you describe Bethells?
I love it, the community out there is so amazing. It’s such a core part of me now, and the beach itself is absolutely stunning. Nothing beats a wild west coast beach.

It can be a bit treacherous right?
Yeah, it is dangerous, but through this grant we’ve been able to do so much more training which enables us to keep people safe.

What’s the most satisfying rescue you’ve done?
My favourite rescue would probably have to be one my friend did. I was more of a support, rather than aiding in the rescue but we won Rescue of the Month for it. It just involved a lot of team work and really showed what we’d been training for.

Damian Strickett, lifeguard, 37

How long have you been lifeguarding?
I’m into my second season.

What got you into it?
It was my kids. I wanted them to know about being safe at the beach. I’m part of the Junior Surf parent programme.

How will the grant the club has recently received from TSB help?
The grant will help us immensely. Grants mean a lot of people can go on courses such as first aid – [people] who may not have gone on them if they had to pay for them. These things also give people life skills, as well as surf lifesaving skills.

What’s the best part about being a surf lifeguard?
Getting out in the water and the bond you make with people. I think the best things about surf lifesaving are the community you meet within your club, the skills you learn and knowledge that is passed on – and also some of the fun things we get to do and learn, such as IRB [Inflatable Rescue Boat] driving.

TSB is proud to support Surf Life Saving New Zealand. To learn more about TSB – a 100% New Zealand-owned bank – please visit tsb.co.nz

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