Many people don’t realise surf lifeguards work voluntarily – putting in many hours keeping up regular training, working to develop younger members, and doing beach patrols and rescue call-outs.
And a large portion of SLSNZ’s members are young people – they can qualify officially as lifeguards at 14 years old, so young people make a meaningful difference to the work we do in New Zealand communities.
In the 2018/19 year lifeguards saved 700 lives and assisted more than 1,600 to safety from dangerous situations. They carried out 237,255 patrol hours with 74 clubs nationwide, and provided first aid 2,573 times. (SLSNZ’s year runs from July 1 to June 30),
Piha Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) lifeguard Molly Brittenden, 17, says she loves volunteering for SLSNZ. She’s been at the club for ten years working her way through the different levels of lifeguard training, and is now year 12 at high school, and juggling school work with lifesaving, but says it’s worth it.
“I love being at the beach and making life-long friends and keeping people safe and teaching people about keeping safe in the ocean. There’s actually lots of teens out there who like volunteering and like helping people to help the community, not all teenagers are bad.
“I’d say maybe half of our lifeguards are youth, and they are very involved. We’re fit and fast for rescues, young people bring fresh eyes and enthusiasm, and we’re willing to do lots of stuff.”
She says SLSNZ has provided her with fantastic development opportunities. She recently returned from a lifeguard exchange to Huntington Beach, in California.
“Lots of young people want to go out there and do stuff to help their community. I recommend SLSNZ, it’s a really welcoming community, and everyone’s really friendly and shares their knowledge and teaches you about the beach.”
Taylor Kerr, 15, is also a lifeguard at Piha SLSC, and loves volunteering.
“It’s so much fun, I really like how the club is such a small community, and it’s set up to contribute and help out in the community even though you’re young.”
Taylor says keeping busy has taught him to organise his study plans well.
“I found balancing school and volunteer work is not too hard. It is around exam time, but I have a planner, and school comes first - and then you can volunteer in your free time.
“I like being out at the beach every weekend, and using the equipment and helping with the boats and lifeguard duty. You get a sense of achievement from being trained and ready to respond to help people, and especially when there’s a rescue and someone can go home safe.”
**Media kit: Please click here for access to Surf Life Saving New Zealand media kit photos.
For more information, please contact:
Rajal Middleton, SLSNZ Commercial Manager
027 457 1001, email@example.com
Surf Life Saving New Zealand
04 560 0383