Eurobodalla lifesavers have returned from Sydney bearing, for the second year running, the prestigious title of NSW Branch of the Year.
Broulee lifesaver Andrew Edmunds added to the branch haul, being named Volunteer of the Year and winning the award for Outstanding Media Service.
The Far South Coast branch comprises Batemans Bay, Broulee, Moruya, Narooma, Bermagui, Tathra and Pambula clubs and their commitment to the NSW surf
rescue emergency response System was integral to winning the top gong.
Far South Coast volunteer duty officers and callout teams responded to 60 incidents across 300 kilometres of coastline, arriving at rescue scenes in an average of 12.1 minutes.
The branch was also praised for training and development, indigenous and special nipper programs and combined training exercises to boost Inflatable Rescue Boat crew and driver numbers.
Branch president Tony Rettke said it was a huge achievement.
“It recognises 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 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 lead the way reflects the hard work and dedication of all members.
“To our clubs and all 1866 members, thank you for your service and congratulations on your wonderful achievements.”
Mr Edmunds completed 138 patrol hours at Broulee last year, more than 100 of them un-rostered.
He is also branch callout duty officer, director of lifesaving, media liaison, publicity officer, and a member of the branch rescue callout team.
He completed almost 500 extra hours of service and contributed to four merit awards in the season. During the peak Christmas period, he gave regular updates to local and national media outlets, promoting surf safety.
Mr Edmunds successfully lobbied the Eurobodalla Shire Council to install rip safety signs at Moruya’s treacherous North Head beach after several rescues and fatalities.
He said he was honoured, but was just one of many dedicated lifesavers.
“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,” he said.
“We don’t do what we do for recognition or awards, we do it because Surf life Saving is infectious. It has given me some of the most fulfilling experiences and the best mates I’ll probably ever have. Get involved and give it a go.“
More than 350 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, coaches and administrators gathered in Sydney on Saturday night to celebrate the contribution of volunteers and clubs from across NSW.