Tea Gardens Hawks Nest SLSC seek volunteers for next season

TGHN SLSC volunteers Terry Flynn, Claire Bagnell, Peter Weir, John Estens and Blake Sturgess, in the best volunteer location possible – Bennetts Beach, Hawks Nest.

SYSTEMIC volunteer shortages state-wide may mean unpatrolled beaches, as the Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Surf Life Savers Club (SLSC) actively seeks new members for the 2023-24 season.

The systemic volunteering shortage is affecting volunteer organisations, including the RFS and SES, also.

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“We need more ‘active’ members, who can do beach patrol,” Amanda Osmond, Junior Activities Co-Ordinator at the TGHN SLSC told News Of The Area.

“There are several different roles to fill, and you don’t have to be David Hasselhoff to join.”

“We need radio operators, first-aiders, Surf Rescue Certificate and Bronze Medallion holders, as well as drivers for the Inflatable Rubber Boat and the jet skis,” Ms Osmond added.

The TGHN SLSC’s historical longevity sees it as the longest running continuously active SLSC in Australia, remaining open during the World Wars.

While the main patrol appears seasonally on Hawks Nest’s Bennetts Beach, the TGHN SLSC’s purview is geographically massive.

“Our on-call area covers Broughton to Birubi, and all beaches and shorelines in between, out past the islands, so the need for active members is huge,” Ms Osmond explained.

According to the SLSC, Bennetts Beach is very safe, as there has never been a death under patrol conditions, which could change if the Club does not find more active members.

“We want to dispel any idea that Life Savers are ‘locked in’ forever, we have people come and go with the seasons, from Newcastle, Dungog and Clarencetown, too.

“One recent incident near Tomaree saw SLSC, the Westpac and Toll helicopters, with emergency services, rescuing some ill-advised rock-fishers,” Ms Osmond told NOTA.

“It’s one of the few volunteer activities the whole family can enjoy,” Ms Osmond said, relating instances when she had performed rescues with the assistance of her children on duty.

The first courses for new recruits will begin in late August, 2023, and the SLSC hopes to have active members proficient for the ’23-’24 season.

Inquiries at tghnslsc.com, or the Surf Club Bar, which is open Fridays-Sundays, 3-7pm.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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