Smiths Beach Surf Life Saving Club is preparing for a busy summer season with the induction of two new local paid lifeguards, Blake Garnett and Rein Morgan.
SLS WA hires lifeguards, mostly from Perth, to patrol popular beaches in the South West where swell, rips and reef can spell danger for visiting swimmers.
Newly appointed SLS WA regional manager Will Dwyer said local knowledge of beaches such as Smiths, which has a shallow reef break and dangerous rips, was vital to effectively patrol the beach.
“Locals can train to become paid lifeguards at Smiths,” he said.
“Previously locals may not have known or didn’t try to become lifeguards, but it’s an important job to the community especially in summer.”
Smiths SLS has doubled its commitment of volunteer patrol hours from 65 up to 130 hours this summer.
The increase in both paid and volunteer lifeguards is part of an effort to provide safe conditions for those who want to swim at the popular surf beach.
New Smiths lifeguard Blake Garnett drove from Sydney in 2017 and said his experience lifeguarding at busy Sydney beaches had prepared him for the summer tourism season. “I am passionate about lifesaving and surfing, I think they go hand in hand,” he said.
“We all share the beach and for the public’s safety, it’s very important to have people down here who are confident and qualified.”
Mr Garnett said he found out about the lifeguard course through a Facebook post a friend forwarded to him; the bronze medallion complemented his desire to become a surf instructor.
He warned swimmers to be careful when conditions were rough.
“Smiths Beach typically has a heavy shore break so if you’re not confident with the size of the waves don’t go in,” he said. “Having said that, it is pretty safe when we’re watching. You’re in safe hands.”