Lifesavers (from left) Jim Burdett, John Towner and Don Power team up in the active reserve for patrol at Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club.
Lifesavers (from left) Jim Burdett, John Towner and Don Power team up in the active reserve for patrol at Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club. Yvonne Gardiner

Don's still saving lives after 34 years

OF THE 45 rescues performed by Queensland lifesavers during the Christmas holiday period, 33 were on bustling Gold Coast beaches.

Three rescues alone were reported at Currumbin on Christmas Eve.

Lifesavers watched over an estimated 104,000 beachgoers across Queensland, while also performing 11,274 preventative actions to protect swimmers.

For Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club active reserve patrol member Don Power, those preventative safety measures are just as important as the rescues.

"They don't make the headlines though," he said.

Don joined the "red and yellow army" in 1983, when he was in his early 30s, and he's taken part in a few rescues. Making beachgoers safer is what he calls his "community contribution".

Like any lifesaver, he loves the water and the beach - the whole lifestyle.

His competitive spirit also fitted right in.

"Triathlons had just started in 1983, so I was part of that," he said.

"If you want to compete, you've got to do patrols. Lifesaving, it's part of Australia. From a safety point of view, it's important."

Some simple safety tips to help protect themselves in and around the water:

  • Swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Look for and follow the advice of safety signs.
  • Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for advice before entering the water.
  • Swim with a friend where possible, and keep an eye on each other.
  • If you find yourself in trouble, stick your hand up for help.
  • Don't swim at unpatrolled beaches.
  • Don't swim at night or after consuming alcohol.
  • Keep a close eye on young children in and around the water.

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