Lifeguards off to busy start

SOUTH Kingscliff lifeguards are bracing for a frantic season if the first six months of the newly formed club are anything to go by.

The Salt development is attracting a burgeoning number of day-trippers drawn by the resort facilities, and lifeguards expect to be run off their feet dealing with a myriad of emergencies both major and minor.

Only recently part-time guard Simon Tait was involved in what he called a nightmare incident involving a 17ft half-cabin boat that got into difficulties in heavy surf.

"This guy was trying to tow it out of the surf with a jet ski. The ski was turned over in the waves, but the bloke still persisted," recalls Simon.

"I urged him to abandon the boat but he wouldn't listen. So I clipped my torpedo buoy to an eyelet on the front of the boat, slung the buoy's rope over my shoulder and towed him out.

"It was either that or leave him to get into even more trouble.

"I've never been more exhausted in my life.

"If I had slipped my speedos over my wetsuit and put on a cape I couldn't have looked more like superman," he laughed.

"It was a horrendous situation."

A team of five paid guards will be on duty as the season warms up and skills will be put to the test.

Their logbook already reveals an extraordinary range of incidents, some bizarre, some tragic, that they've had to deal with.

One Sunday, lifeguards had to remove two brown snakes from the Salt resort pool.

Guards have had to deal with a 28-year-old man with chest pains who required an ambulance, a broken ankle, and on one occasion four people were rescued by off-duty club members and all were treated for shock and transported to hospital.

Last month a man drowned in deceptively calm conditions several kilometres south of the lifeguards and on the same weekend a mob of 40 Japanese students had to be monitored on an unpatrolled section of beach.

"We're trying to make people aware of the dangers," said Simon.

"Even on the calmest of days there are tricky rips."

Fellow lifeguard Mark Sheridan agreed.

"Even with the smallest of waves there's some awkward rips in the patches of still water."

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