Patrols are 'vital' to Peregian Beach
A NEW Peregian community group said losing the local lifesaving service would have a significantly negative impact on the local community, well beyond their day-to-day patrolling role.
Long-term volunteer lifesaver at Peregian Beach, Rob McCready, said losing the volunteer lifesaving program would permanently alter the nature of the patrols at the beach.
He and lifesaving wife Leigh have gained more than 1000 members on Facebook for the Peregian Surf Club Supporter's Group which wants to relocate the club closer to the beach.
They say having more than one person on patrol allows volunteers to be spread across all the tasks needed during a normal patrol shift.
"There is no doubt that both the volunteer lifesaver and professional lifeguard roles are equally important, and the two groups work closely together to perform their different roles according to the needs of the community they serve,” Mr McCready said.
He said on a beach the size of Peregian, one lifeguard looked after the beach on their own.
Lifesaving patrols are made up of between five and 15 volunteers, led by a patrol captain, vice-captain as well as designated roles for volunteers.
Mrs McCready, who is community manager for the supporter's group, said: "Another of the main differences is the involvement lifesavers have with the community.
"From under-6s we help young people understand the value of altruism and community involvement, competing, developing team spirit, having fun and generating a sense of worth.
"Our lifesaving service has people in the radio room, at water's edge, at the trailer for first aid and we conduct regular roving patrols from North Peregian down to Stumers Creek in Coolum.”
Mr McCready said the club's patrols were about involving young people and families in a healthy outdoor activity away from screens.
"If our volunteer lifesaving service disappears an entire generation of local children and young adults will miss out on growing up within the supportive extended family.”