Michelle Garvan has spent over 25 years in surf lifesaving and says the last four seasons at the Camden Haven Surf Life Saving Club have been tough for its members.
“We’ve dealt with some pretty horrific incidents over those four years,” she said.
Michelle is the club’s president and said while its membership might be small, its lifesavers are experienced and trained to deal with many different scenarios.
Michelle decided to take up surf life saving after moving from Campbelltown with her two children.
“We knew a lot about swimming in the pool but nothing about the beach,” she said.
Michelle became an age manager at the club and her two children joined Nippers.
“I became hooked,” Michelle said.
Michelle joined the surf boat crew and said she enjoyed the adrenaline rush of the sport.
After she was injured, Michelle became a training officer, a position she has had for seven seasons.
Ten members have recently gained their Surf Rescue Certificate or Bronze Medallion, under Michelle’s guidance.
Michelle said she feels a sense of pride and lump in her chest when she witnesses a child improve on certain skills.
Michelle said this summer has not been favourable to carry out surf life saving in the water.
“The strong north-easterly winds have brought really thick red weed to our beach,” she said.
Due to the conditions, at times Nippers have not been allowed in the water, however Michelle said this provides an opportunity for them to learn other skills.
“One weekend we got out the manikin and taught CPR to each age group,” she said.
“The parents and the kids enjoyed learning about those life saving skills.”