Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club has been voted the best in NSW for 2016-17.
The decision was announced at the NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in Sydney on Saturday night.
It is the first time a Far South Coast SLSC has won the award. Bermagui was chosen over 129 other clubs in the state, despite being one of the smallest.
President Bruce McAslan said the entire club was thrilled.
“We had no idea we were going to win, it was an amazing feeling,” he said.
The panel looked at the performance of each club over the last 12 months, considering innovation, program development and overall club growth.
A standout achievement of the Bermagui SLSC was their new approach to rostering, which allowed the small-staffed club to hit 100 per cent patrol compliance for the first time.
Instead of having a set roster of six patrol teams, the club had volunteers nominate their preferred days.
This system better accommodated the needs of the lifesavers, significantly reduced absenteeism, and refreshed the working environment by mixing up the members in each team.
The readjustment saw active patrollers at the club increase from just 22 at the start of the season to 34 by Christmas.
“It’s the first of its kind,” Mr McAslan said.
“Since we made the switch, we’ve had a number of other clubs ask us to teach them how to implement the system in their own clubs.”
Another notable program was the Same Wave initiative for beach users with special needs. Mr McAslan said the program was the club’s way to ensure the beach was inclusive.
Mr McAslan attended the awards night with Bermagui SLSC secretary Cheryl McCarthy and club captain Andrew Curven. He said the success of the club was a result of their tireless work.
“The award also recognises our members and patrollers who embody the volunteer spirit,” Mr McAslan said.