in Canberra today, where they were awarded National Rescue of the Month for April, and May/June respectively.
The stories of these two extraordinary rescues were shared at the ceremony where the Hon Matt Thistlewaite MP, Member for Kingsford Smith and Senator for Queensland and Steve Ciobo MP, Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Federal Member for Moncrieff presented the awards.
In announcing the award recipients, SLSA Chief Executive Melissa King said, “Surf Life Saving Australia’s Rescue of the Month is a tremendous national initiative that, today, recognised the incredible service of a young surf lifesaver and nipper in protecting members of the public.
“The quick thinking and selfless bravery of these two volunteers meant that two lives were saved in circumstances that without their individual efforts would have been fatal” She said.
Surf Life Saving Australia President, Graham Ford AM told members of Parliament and the press that “The courageous rescues we honour with the Rescue of the Month awards give testament to the commitment and dedication of our all of our members and their clubs to our mission of zero preventable deaths in Australian waters”
April Rescue of the Month – Mermaid Beach AEME SLSC
On the afternoon of 16 April 2017, Nipper Jayke Menefy and his family were traveling along Teewah Beach in their 4WD when they noticed a group of distressed adults and children at the water’s edge.
A man had been caught in a rip and struggling with the conditions in the water. Using the skills he has learnt as a Nipper, Jayke took a surfboard into the water and paddled out to the man.
Upon reaching the man, Jayke assisted the exhausted swimmer in grabbing the surfboard rails. Jayke tried to paddle parallel to the beach, managing to paddle to the edge of the rip however was unable to catch a wave in. Two men on boogie boards with flippers came out to assist however also had difficulties in the rough conditions.
Another bystander on the beach assisted with a length of string tied to a plastic container, enabling Jayke and the distressed swimmer to finally be dragged back onto the beach.
Without a direct response from Jayke, using his surf rescue skills, the outcome for the man would have been worse and potentially fatal.
Incredible Nipper Jayke Menefy from Mermaid Beach SLSC with the Hon Steven Ciobo who presented his award today.
May/June Rescue of the Month – Noosa Heads SLSC
On the 26 of June 2017, Robert “RJ” Lemon noticed signs of distress from his friend Sam, who was spearfishing 80 metres off the coast of Noosa National Park.
RJ responded immediately, diving off the rocks and swimming quickly to Sam. On reaching him, RJ discovered that a stingray barb had driven clean through Sam’s leg from one side to the other and he was being dragged under by the stingray in its efforts to swim away.
The two fought their way back to the rocks and were helped from the water by another friend, Milo. They pulled Sam, the stingray and the spearfishing gear out of the water, both still connected to his leg.
A passing Park Ranger was able to call paramedics, whilst RJ used a knife to sever the stingrays tail preventing any further damage to Sam and the wound. RJ and Milo were then able to carry Sam to the pathway to be treated by the paramedics.
The quick decision making and rescue skills demonstrated by RJ almost certainly prevented a fatality in this instance.
SLSA President Graham Ford AM, Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP and Noosa Heads club president Ross Fisher with National Rescue of the month June/July winner RJ Lemon.
National Rescue of the Month Awards
Surf Life Saving Australia’s Rescue of the Month is a national initiative that recognises the courageous and outstanding achievements our surf lifesavers and members perform on our coastal waterways every single day.
Each month, the seven SLS states and territory award a Rescue of the Month, with winners automatically nominated for Surf Life Saving Australia’s national award. National award winners are awarded in a quarterly ceremony at Parliament House.
The next Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving and award ceremony will be held on the 30th of November, 2017.