FAR South Coast Surf Lifesavers have won the prestigious branch of the year award for the second consecutive year at the Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence.
In addition, the Far South Coast took the volunteer of the year award, plus the outstanding media service award.
The awards were presented in Sydney on Saturday night and attending from the Narooma club were Steve Dobson, Glenn Bywater and Ben Bate.
The branch’s commitment to the NSW Surf Rescue emergency response system was integral to the overall win.
Far South Coast volunteer duty officers and callout teams responded to 60 incidents across 300 kilometres of coastline with an average response time to the scene of 12.1 minutes.
The branch was also praised for their initiatives in training and development, including indigenous lifesaving programs, special nipper programs and combined training exercises designed to boost inflatable rescue boat crew and driver numbers.
Branch president Tony Rettke said the awards were a huge achievement for each and every member.
“They recognise everyone, our lifesavers, duty officers, educators, directors, trainers and assessors, at all seven clubs,” he said.
“We were over the moon to take out the branch award last year and to get it for a second year in a row is just fantastic. We are one of the smallest branches in the state and for us to not only be competitive but to actually lead the way is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of all our members.
"To our clubs at Batemans Bay, Broulee, Moruya, Narooma, Bermagui, Tathra and Pambula and all of our 1866 members thank you for your service and congratulations on your wonderful achievements."
Andrew Edmunds of Broulee SLSC went home with two major awards, taking out the volunteer of the year and outstanding media service of the year awards.
Last year Andrew completed 138 patrol hours at Broulee, more than 100 of which were un-rostered.
Andrew is also the Branch Director of Lifesaving, Media Liaison, Publicity Officer, member of the Branch rescue callout team and is the Branch callout duty officer.
Incredibly, Andrew’s role in coordinating callout operations saw him complete close to 500 additional hours of service and receive praise as a contributor to four Meritorious Awards during the season. Throughout the peak Christmas period, Andrew provided regular updates on local and national radio, continually promoting surf safety messages and updates.
On top of his frontline role on the beach and during callouts, Andrew successfully lobbied the local Eurobodalla Shire Council to install rip safety signs in a prominent location at Moruya break wall following a number of rescues and fatalities there.
Andrew said he was honoured to receive the awards, but said he was just one of many people that dedicate much of their time.
“Every day there are duty officers, committee members, educators and lifesavers doing something at their surf club, putting in thousands of volunteer hours with one goal in mind – keeping people safe at the beach by saving lives,” he said.
“We don’t do what we do for recognition or awards, we do it because Surf life Saving is infectious. Surf life Saving has given me some of the most fulfilling experiences and the best mates I’ll probably ever have and I’d say to anyone who hasn’t experienced it to get involved and give it a go.”
More than 350 of the movement’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, coaches and administrators gathered in Sydney on Saturday night to celebrate the enormous contribution of volunteers and clubs from across NSW.