The Power of Surf Lifesaving Clubs

On March 21, Burnie Rotary hosted two high-profile members of Tasmania’s Surf Lifesaving clubs.

Stuart Payne is president of SLST (Surf Life Saving Tasmania) and oversees the 14 Surf Clubs, 7 volunteer marine rescue services and 2 jet boat rescue services in Tasmania. As well, SLST supports Tas. Police on flood rescue operations (i.e., inland). Stuart said there are over 1,000 ‘nippers’ in Tasmanian surf clubs and, while they have fun, they also learn about proper beach conduct and smart swimming rules.

Shane Askew is president of Burnie Surf Lifesaving Club, which is over 100 years old. With close to 400 active members, the Burnie club is considered Tasmania’s foremost club. It also competes successfully in local, state and national competitions. Shane pointed out that from December to March each year, the Burnie club has about $60k worth of rescue equipment at the beach and this needs around $10k per year to maintain. The club receives no regular income, so this is a challenge. Given that the Burnie club must patrol both West Beach and also the beach to the east of the Yacht Club, their existing IRB (Inflated Rescue Boat) is indispensable, but unfortunately this boat is 15 years old now and the club is very keen to obtain a new IRB. Their efforts to this end have been very credible, but the club is short of the final $6,000 needed to buy a new boat.

In the photo below, Stuart and Shane are flanked by Pres. Themba and David McCarthy.