With only 31 volunteers Camden Haven Surf Lifesaving Club (CHSLSC) is small but it recently achieved big at the state awards.
At the 2017 Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence the club received the Rescue of the Year award for saving the life of Sydney woman Samantha Morley who became caught in a rip at South Beach, Dunbogan on Easter Saturday.
Shortly before 4pm, NSW Police requested assistance from the Surf Life Saving NSW Operations Centre who contacted the emergency callout team from Camden Haven SLSC to respond.
Club members Phil Traves and Tony Worton received the call and rushed to the beach to prepare the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) for launch.
They were joined by members Jacob Worton (Tony’s son), Jay Toogood, Adam Toogood and club president Michelle Garvan.
Phil and Tony launched the IRB while the others grabbed rescue gear and medical supplies and raced to the other end of the beach by car.
Club president Michelle Garven said it was as a really rough day with consistent swells of between three and four metres.
Tony and Phil managed to pull Samatha into the boat and got her to shore where she was treated by paramedics.
After being assessed, Samantha was rushed to hospital having ingested sea water. She made a full recovery.
Michelle said it was very exciting for the club to be recognised.
“We’re such a small club and we’ve struggled for membership numbers,” she said.
Michelle said all members work tirelessly to ensure equipment is up to date and undertake courses to ensure they have the appropriate qualifications.
The NSW Minister for Emergency Services attended the awards on Saturday, August 5.
Michelle said the Minister told the audience the government wouldn’t be able to afford to pay the SLSC volunteers for the amount of work they do for the community.
CHSLSC volunteers spend on average 78 hours on patrol a year. Michelle said this amount is double what other members at larger clubs do.
The beauty of being a small club Michelle said is that ‘members band together really well’.
Tony Worton said himself, Michelle and Phil were very proud of the club’s achievement.
He said more importantly it was a great feeling to help Samantha and for her to ‘still be with us’.
“It shows that even though Camden Haven is a small club, when it counts we can step up and save a life by responding quickly and professionally,” he said.
Members, Tony said train in all kinds of conditions to ensure they are ready to assist in rescues no matter what the scenario might be.
The club is now up for a national award which will be announced later this year.