Surfers are a vital asset in our oceans
SURFING: Surfers across the Coffs Coast have the chance to become certified lifesavers thanks to a new partnership between the State Government and Surfing NSW.
$134,000 in funding from the government's Water Safety Fund has been granted to the Surfers Rescue 24/7 course, one which has already trained more than 7000 surfers statewide.
"For the last few years we've been funding Surfing NSW to run lifesaving education with surfers up and down the coastline on a trial basis and now we're rolling it out (full-time),” Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said.
"It will give us more experts who are familiar with the water the skills and knowledge to perform lifesaving duties whilst they're out enjoying their surfing pastime.
"It's been a wonderful initiative and it's all about saving lives.”
The course comprises of two parts; board rescue in the water and techniques to bring someone back to shore and CPR training provided by Surf Life Saving NSW.
"For people using unpatrolled beaches where a lot of the drownings occur this is such a vital investment,” Grant added.
Nationals candidate Gurmesh Singh said the course couldn't have come at a better time.
"With the spate of drownings that we've seen over the last few months I think it's very important because people in the water are often the first people on the scene,” he said.
"We often won't see a lot of those rescues logged; so it can only be a really good thing if we have more training for people who are first on the scene.”
Coffs Harbour Boardriders contest director Ian Klaus also backed the initiative.
The program will be rolled out across a number of beaches in 2019 with the nest local course to be held in April.