"My one mission was to get these boys to safety, and make sure they were okay,"

Every dollar counts, and every donation goes further than you think. It really does make a difference.

A group of teenage boys jump off the cliffs at Warriewood Blowhole, a notoriously dangerous spot with a drop of about eleven meters into the sea.

A group of teenage boys jump off the cliffs at Warriewood Blowhole, a notoriously dangerous spot with a drop of about eleven meters into the sea. The waves are big, and the blowhole is out of sight of volunteer surf lifesavers patrolling nearby Warriewood Beach. 

Suddenly, the situation turns desperate as three of the boys become stranded on the rocks in the caves surrounding the blowhole. One of the boys has a head injury. Their friend runs for help.  

A teenage boy runs up Warriewood Beach, signalling for help from volunteer surf lifesavers. He tells them his friends desperately need help.  

Instantly a lifesaving mission swings into action.  

16-year-old volunteer surf lifesaver, Saskia Rundle Trowbridge, is just five minutes into her patrol. She’s been part of the Warriewood Surf Life Saving Club since she was a young Nipper. She knows how dangerous the blowhole is. She recognises the boys are in perilous danger. 

"My one mission was to get these boys to safety, and make sure they were okay," she said. 

The only way to reach the caves is via jet ski or Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB), and Saskia and IRB driver, Adam, leap to action, relying on their training to respond instantly and drive around to the boys, knowing there isn’t a second to spare.  

On arriving at the caves, Saskia and Adam assess the situation. They quickly note that because of the rough surf it is far too dangerous to drive up to the cave to perform a pickup.  

Saskia will need to jump in, risking her own life to climb up the rocks, and use a rescue tube to bring the boys back to the boat. They radio the patrol tent confirming their plan.  

The 16-year-old volunteer surf lifesaver bravely jumps into the sea. 

“This wasn’t a hop in and out thing,” says Saskia, noting how difficult the conditions were to navigate and how she relied on her years of training to make her way to the rocks.  

“It took a while to swim over, and then when I was getting up on the rocks, I couldn’t find a way up. I kept getting pulled back and pushed up by the waves.” 

In fact, the conditions are so difficult, the cord of her rescue tube becomes stuck on a rock ledge, and she is exposed to the unrelenting waves for two minutes.  

“It was a tricky situation for both us and them,” Saskia said. 

Finally, she reaches the boys, telling the stranded group, “I’m a surf lifesaver. It’s going to be all right.” 

Saskia waits for a lull in the ocean to jump back in with the boys, her rescue tube around the injured boy. 

“The whole time we were climbing back down to the rocks and swimming out to the boat, I just kept repeating, ‘we’re going to be okay’. My goal the entire time was to keep both the boys and myself safe,” Saskia said. 

With Saskia’s help, all the boys make it safely back to the beach and thank their rescuers, knowing the outcome could have been fatal. 

It was a successful outcome, with all the teens returned home safely to their families and the injured boy discharged from hospital after being treated for concussion. 

This was Saskia’s first rescue from an IRB, having recently completed extensive training to qualify for this type of rescue.  

“I’m so grateful for the rest of my patrol and for Adam. It genuinely was a team effort and wouldn’t have happened without them. Adam was talking me through the whole time. 

“I’m just happy that everyone was alright. The boys got back safe and neither myself nor anyone in my patrol was harmed performing the rescue. Our aim is to keep people safe and keep ourselves safe too,” she said. 

Tragically, 55 people lost their lives in coastal drowning deaths this summer, most outside the red and yellow flags or at unpatrolled beaches. 

The SLSA Summer Coastal Drowning Report* shows that 84% of these tragedies were male. A heartbreaking statistic that could have included these young boys had it not been for the heroic efforts of Saskia and the patrol crew from Warriewood Surf Life Saving Club. 

It is only due to the efforts of dedicated volunteer surf lifesavers, like Saskia, that these numbers are not higher. These committed individuals performed 25,563 first aid treatments and spent over 1.3 million hours of their own time patrolling our beaches to keep them safe for us and our loved ones to enjoy. 

And importantly, they rescued 5,716 people, ensuring, like the young boys at Warriewood Blowhole, that they were returned home safely to their loved ones. 

Saskia’s message to the public is an important one. 

“You might think ‘oh it’s okay, I’m a strong swimmer, I’ll be fine.’ But you can still find yourself in a bad situation. There needs to be great awareness brought to the dangers of the ocean. Even for people who have lived by the coast their whole lives. Don’t go into the ocean alone,” she warns. 

Saskia gratefully acknowledges the part fundraising and generous donors play in supporting volunteer surf lifesavers. 

“Fundraising plays an important role. We have donors and community partners who contribute to help us with training and to get the rescue equipment we need to help us help the community and save lives,” she says. 

Rescue equipment like the IRB and the rescue tube that were imperative to saving the teenage boys. Equipment such as the radios used to coordinate the efforts between Saskia, the IRB, and the Patrol Captain back on the beach.  

Without these vital pieces of equipment, the rescue would not have been possible. The outcome for these young boys, potentially fatal. 

Will you become one of our heroes behind the scenes, supporting our dedicated volunteer surf lifesavers to continue to do their lifesaving work?  

Your generous donation goes towards the extensive training our volunteer surf lifesavers undertake to keep their skills up to date and ensure they can react instinctively whenever they are needed, no matter what the situation. Towards upskilling our volunteer surf lifesavers with skills such as the IRB rescue training Saskia recently undertook, imperative to performing this rescue.  

Please give generously. It is through the generosity of donors like yourself and the selflessness and unwavering dedication of individuals like Saskia, that we and our loved ones can continue to enjoy our beautiful Australian beaches for generations to come. 

We need heroes, like Saskia, on the beach and heroes, like yourself, behind the scenes. 

Together we can save lives and continue to bring loved ones home safely to their families.  

To put the rescue performed by Saskia and the Warriewood Surf Life Saving Club into numbers*:

  • It costs over $21.5k for just one IRB, essential for Surf Life Saving Clubs to have access to, ensuring they can quickly and efficiently perform rescues at a moment’s notice in inhospitable conditions such as the dangerous conditions at Warriewood Blowhole, inaccessible any other way.  
  • $850 for one digital radio, essential for communication and coordination of lifesaving efforts between IRBs, the patrol tower, and patrol members on the beach.  
  • $120 for a rescue tube, like the one Saskia used to reach the boys in the rough ocean and bring the injured boy safely back to the IRB. 
  • $700 for a First Aid Kit, vital for our volunteer surf lifesavers to have access to, to provide urgent First Aid for injured beachgoers like the boy injured during the jump into the Warriewood Blowhole. 
  • More than $850 to train a volunteer surf lifesaver, like Saskia, to reach bronze medallion standard and be able to perform recues. 
  • And no monetary value can be assigned to the countless hours of their own time our volunteer surf lifesavers put in to upskill themselves and ensure they are armed with rescue techniques and knowledge to act instinctively within seconds notice, just like Saskia and Rob did that Sunday afternoon at Warriewood Beach 

Did you know?

You may not realise that we are a charity and Surf Life Saving is a community-funded movement. That’s why we rely on generous Australians like you to keep our flags flying and our beaches safe.

Where does my money go? Can even a small donation help? Your questions answered.

The Surf Life Saving Foundation (SLSF) is the fundraising arm of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA). SLSA is Australia’s peak authority on beach safety, drowning prevention and rescue.

The SLSF was established to support our unique not-for-profit community cause that exists through community donations, fundraising, corporate sponsorships and government grants.

With over 180,000 members and 315 affiliated Surf Life Saving Clubs, SLS represents the largest volunteer movement of its kind in Australia, and the world.
Absolutely! Every single donation you make helps us to save more lives on the beach.

Every year millions of people visit our beaches, and thousands of these visitors find themselves in urgent need of a life saving rescue. This is what we are here for, to keep your family and friends safe in the water.

Your support today will ensure that millions of adults and children who visit the beach go home safely.
Australia and its related islands have over 11,500 beaches dispersed along more than 50,000km of coastline, attracting an estimated 500+ million visits every year. Our volunteer surf lifesavers are always kept busy. We have over 180,000 volunteers from over 315 different surf clubs across Australia, and with the help of your generous donations, they make sure that Australia has some of the safest beaches in the world.

Did you know?
- It costs at least $850 to train a new volunteer to Bronze Medallion standard. Surf lifesavers are trained in First Aid, CPR and rescue techniques. Importantly, all of our lifesavers must continue to refresh and update their skills.

- Rescue gear and equipment are some of the largest costs associated with providing lifesaving services throughout Australia. A full life saving patrol can cost up to $80,000.

- Prevention is better than cure, and the best way to save lives at the beach is by teaching people how to stay out of danger. We run campaigns on how to spot rips and what to do if you are caught in one (swim parallel to the shore!).

No matter what area your donation goes towards, you can be sure that it will make a vital contribution to saving lives.
The SLSF Board continues as the Trustees of the Surf Life Saving Rescue Fund Trust. The Trust was established in 2002 to provide an additional and more assured ongoing source of funding for the movement. 

When we raise money for the Surf Life Saving Innovation Fund, this allows us to explore new initiatives, test new programs, and learn what works to accelerate lifesaving practices. Donors who give to our Fund understand that true innovation takes time and resources, that networks and connections are key levers for change, and that dollars invested in strengthening the sector and building capacity among all stakeholders will pay dividends down the road in the form of more effective lifesaving practices, more efficient funding streams, and amplified social impact.

The Surf Life Saving Innovation Fund enables you to target your donations to directly fund a specific project. The SLSF will provide progress updates to show how your donations are making a real difference to Innovation Fund projects. 

Could you give regularly?

As well as training new volunteer surf lifesaver, your monthly donation helps repair and replace the equipment that constant exposure to the sun and sea can damage. As a Guardian of the Surf your monthly donation ensures that we are rescue-ready at a moment’s notice. You would be the silent hero behind every life saved.

Join our Guardians of the Surf family today
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