Singer-songwriter and Surf Life Saving ambassador Jamie McDell is getting set to take her lifeguard training to the next level.
She will be participating in an IRB training weekend over Queen's Birthday in Pauanui in an effort to gain her IRB driver and crewperson qualifications.
Hailing from the northern surf town of Mangawhai, Jamie never strays far from the sea. Acting as Surf Life Saving's ambassador since November last year, she has been put through her paces to gain her surf lifeguard qualification- but the training doesn't stop there.
Jamie says it's very important once you get your lifeguard award to continue up-skilling and she can't wait to become qualified as an IRB driver because the IRB is one of the most useful pieces of rescue equipment that allows lifeguards to reach patients as fast as possible.
"Over the patrol season I had a great time being introduced to the IRB and witnessing first-hand how affectively it is used for rescues, event guarding and training. I'm excited to now be training with instruction from some of our most experienced lifeguards to use the equipment as well as I can. There's always more to learn," she says.
As a member of Pauanui Surf Life Saving Club, Jamie says they are always looking to up-skill their junior members as qualified drivers. "We have plenty of crew but to get to driving level, it is important to be confident and not just qualified. Training for your drivers is more difficult so we need to be sure that we have great and experienced instructors," she says.
Training for your driver or crewman qualification involves a number of aspects. Lifeguards need to start with getting to know the boat including how to take it apart and put it back together. There's also theory work on patient pick-ups, various crewing or driving techniques and hand signals. Then most importantly to become confident in the boat, lifeguards need to spend as much time in it as possible in a range of surf and weather conditions. Understanding the surf and how it works is a big part of being a successful crewperson or driver in the IRB.
Jamie says she loves her role as Surf Life Saving's ambassador and the opportunities it brings.
"It's something I'm so passionate about and I'm just very grateful to be in a position where I can help the cause in some way. I've loved every minute of patrolling this season and I'm really looking forward to continuing my training to become a better and more qualified lifeguard. The people I've met through this organisation are so inspiring- I'm just delighted to be a part of such a giving community," she says.
Jamie McDell's debut album Six Strings and a Sailboat is out now.
Find out more about Jamie McDell here: