Having the right lifesaving equipment this summer will save lives

Donate for lifesaving equipment today

Last season, 18-year-old Lewis was enjoying a summer holiday swim at his local beach when he dove headfirst into a wave and hit a sandbar. Suddenly he found himself underneath the water and unable to move.

Lewis didn’t know it at the time but he had just broken his neck and even the tiniest movement could mean paralysis, or worse.

It doesn’t matter how well you know your favourite beach, anyone can end up in trouble in the surf. And as the weather heats up and the beaches get busier, there are more lives at risk every day.

Thankfully, our volunteers were at Lewis’ side within seconds, carefully carrying him to shore safety. Two of the lifesavers had just received their Spinal Management Certificates, so they knew exactly what they needed to do. With the help of a Spinal Board and Rescue Tube, they propped Lewis in a safe position and administered spinal first-aid until the paramedics arrived.

The quick actions of the lifesavers meant that Lewis got to hospital in just 40 minutes, where he underwent lifesaving surgery to stabilise his neck, and had six screws inserted into three vertebrae.

Today, Lewis has regained full strength but he knows how lucky he was. If it wasn’t for the training and quick-thinking of the lifesavers, and the use of lifesaving equipment, the outcomes for Lewis may have been very different:

“If the Surf Life Savers weren’t there I would’ve tried to push up, injuring my neck further, either becoming a paraplegic or dying.

I’m sure that if they hadn’t told me not to move I would be in a much worse situation because I know I would have tried to ‘shake it off’. Thankfully, they kept me still.” ”

Last year, volunteer Surf Life Savers performed first-aid on 26,173 people on Australian beaches. Of those people, 203 needed spinal first-aid, like Lewis.

Lewis’ story shows that when disaster strikes in the water, it is essential that lifesavers are ready with the right equipment and training to act quickly and save lives – but they cannot do it alone.

Over 70% of what it costs to fund Surf Life Saving comes from the community, and that’s why we urgently need your help today. Whether it’s paying for a new Spinal Board, specialist training, or making sure our equipment is in top condition. Your donation really could save another life this busy summer season when our volunteers need your help most. Please, support Surf Life Saving today.

Donate for lifesaving equipment today