• intouch Magazine | February 2017

FORMER CHAMPION SURF LIFE SAVER Desperate to educate about water safety in light of recent drownings

Former champion Surf Life Saver and Newcastle resident Boyd Conrick is urging people of all ages to learn about beach safety given what can only be described as a horror summer in the water. Conrick says the significant number of drownings in NSW over the Christmas period (22 people drowned in 25 days at NSW beaches, waterways and pools) were preventable.

Conrick has been a well-respected member of the Surf Life Saving community for more than 20 years, has performed numerous rescues and has spoken at many schools about water safety. He is a former champion Surf Life Saver as well as being a champion triathlete, and is a very well known and respected local identity.

“These deaths were tragic but preventable, and I am determined to get the message about beach safety out there to help prevent these unnecessary deaths.

“The Wooli (north of Coffs Harbour) drowning in December was tragic but typical: a man in his 60s was enjoying Christmas with his nephew, playing on the beach and heard screams coming from the water. Some young girls were stuck in a rip, and he went to their aid. He drowned, and the girls eventually reached safety.

“This is very tragic, but it is also preventable—I want to shout from the rooftops: swim between the red and yellow flags.”

Conrick is concerned adults who did not grow up in Australia, and who did not learn about water safety, are particularly vulnerable as they don’t understand the dangers a beautiful beach can pose. As a result, he is passionate about educating children about safety along our coastlines so they will be safe at the beach during their youth and into their adult lives.

He recently launched an illustrated children’s book that educates youngsters on how to stay safe at the beach by swimming between the red and yellow flags erected by Surf Life Savers.

“As a father of two young children, I am saddened at the high occurrence of drowning we still experience on Australian beaches. I have been a volunteer lifesaver for 25 years and firmly believe that educating children early in their lives on how to be safe while enjoying our beautiful beaches can only serve to help reduce these drowning statistics.”

At the Beach with Lizzie and Luke engages children with the fun and excitement of being at the beach but also has a serious message about staying safe, as a child almost drowns because he didn’t swim between the flags. Here are Lizzie & Lukes top tips for staying safe in the water this summer:

  1. Always swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags.

  2. Never swim alone.

  3. Read the safety signs.

  4. Don't swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  5. If you get into trouble in the water, don't panic. Raise your arm for help, float and wait for assistance.

  6. Adult supervision in combination with pool fencing is the most effective method of preventing your child from drowning in a backyard pool.

  7. Learn basic first aid and resuscitation.

At the Beach with Lizzie and Luke is available at all 22 Westpac branches throughout Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, and the Hunter Valley as well as good local bookshops and online at www.lizzieandluke.com

By purchasing this book, you are supporting Surf Life Saving, a community cause which relies on your donations to continue

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