The Australian Lifeguard Service has been recognised twice in three months for exemplary skills and diligence along the coastline, with lifeguards on the Far North Coast and Sydney Northern Beaches earning state awards for rescues over the busy summer.

After a family of tourists was rescued from a dangerous rip off Byron Bay by on-duty lifeguards, Rory MacPhail and Layna Matthews, the pair were awarded the Surf Life Saving NSW Rescue of the Month for December.

Then, in February, the efforts of Mark McManus to swim out and save two people being swept out to sea by the southern headland of Warriewood Beach was recognised with the same award.

“ALS lifeguards have gone above and beyond in both instances here, and it’s great to see their efforts recognised by the Rescue of the Month panel,” said ALS Manager, Chris O’Rorke.

“These are just two specific examples of the amazing work that our 350 lifeguards do across the NSW coastline and speak to the crucial role that lifeguards play in providing safe beaches throughout the season.”

Preliminary figures from the 2023/24 season suggest that ALS lifeguards completed more than 1,300 rescues and delivered almost 7,000 first aids. Over 850,000 preventative actions, being those that engage with the public and warn them of dangers, were performed.

Those numbers will continue to rise over the last three months of the reporting period, with services in Byron Bay, Port Macquarie, and Port Stephens to continue through winter.

“I’d like to congratulate all our lifeguards on a job well done, particularly Rory and Layna, involved in the Byron Bay rescue on Christmas Day, as well as Mark for his out of hours efforts at Warriewood. While many lifeguards will tell you that this is all in a day’s work, it truly is an extraordinary lifesaving effort,” Chris continued.

Indeed, Mark was lucky to be using the club gym at Warriewood SLSC after his shift when he heard the call for help, leaping to action and utilising a club rescue board to successfully bring a stranded couple back to shore.

Rory and Layna ensured a group of eight international tourists’ Christmas Day didn’t end in tragedy – employing their professional skills and knowledge and some handy assistance from two Fingal Rovers SLSC volunteers to aid in helping them out of a rip current.

“With the end of the season across most of the state, I’d like to thank all ALS Lifeguards for their efforts throughout the season in keeping our beaches and beachgoers safe,” said Chris.

Thursday 2 May 2024