SURF SAFETY: Lifesavers take on the surf at Yamba during yesterday’s rescue boat instruction session. Photo: DEBRAH NOVAK
SURF SAFETY: Lifesavers take on the surf at Yamba during yesterday’s rescue boat instruction session. Photo: DEBRAH NOVAK

Lifesavers put through paces as they prepare for summer

LEARNING to jump waves in inflatable rescue boats (IRBs) while maintaining control at high speeds are crucial skills for many surf lifesavers.

Members from six North Coast surf lifesaving clubs put their skills to the test at a rescue boat instruction session held at Yamba Main Beach yesterday.

Clarence Surf Life Saving duty officer Perter Sweetman said the session allowed lifesavers to hone their skills before the start of the summer.

"These sessions let people become more familiar with their rescue crafts," Mr Sweetman said.

"Some of the things they learnt were how to take on search and rescue and maintenance."

More than 40 participants were put through their paces on IRBs, jets skis and a jet rescue boat.

Mr Sweetman was among those who played a part in delivering the session.

"I was there to see what the co-ordinators had planned to do on the day," he said.

Plans are in place to stage another two sessions before the season begins.

Meanwhile Mr Sweetman said it was hoped that IRB races would be reintroduced into the Branch competitions as a way to develop boating skills.

He said the races simulated single and multiple rescues and honed all the essential driving skills lifesavers needed.

"As well as being a lot of fun, the races are a way to build skills," he said.

"Most rescues will be in the surf zone so you have to be quick with an IRB."

Mr Sweetman said the North Coast had produced some of the country's best IRB racing team but Sydney clubs now dominate competition.