A new generation of surf lifesavers were inducted at Queenscliff yesterday with a special ‘cadet patrol’.

Yesterday morning (Saturday, 09 October) saw a ceremonial raising of the flags at Queenscliff Beach to signify the official start of the summer patrol season, with VIPs in attendance including Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales, CEO Steven Pearce, and emergency services Minister David Elliott.

After all the VIPs had departed, around lunchtime, an arguably more important ceremony was held with less fanfare at Queenscliff Beach in front of the patrol shed. After being locked out of participation by COVID, a squad of 25 junior lifesaving cadets were welcomed back to the beach for a special ‘cadet patrol’.

The cadets have completed their surf rescue certificate, and are now moving on to the next step of becoming full members of the surf patrol when they complete their Bronze Medallion.

Queenscliff SLSC Captain Kelly Beverley welcomes cadets to the beach

Queenscliff SLSC Captain Kelly Beverley said that although the season had formally started on 18 September, the cadets had not been permitted back to the beach before yesterday.

Kelly Beverley

Kelly Beverley

“Because of COVID we weren’t allowed to have anyone under 16, this is the first day that they’re allowed back on the beach. It’s a significant thing for them because they haven’t been able to go to school, they haven’t been able to play sport, they haven’t been able to socialise with their mates.

“Here they can do it legitimately and have fun with their surf club mates on the beach. They can continue to train and keep their skills up and you know, they’re great volunteers. We’re all volunteers, but these kids, I think they’ve had it particularly tough.

“We’ve organised this as a celebration to welcome them back into the club and into surf lifesaving for the season, which we didn’t think would happen until much later in the year. They’re very excited that they’re going to get out and practice their skills on the boards and they’re also going to play a bit of volleyball.

“I’m happier than the cadets I think, just to see them all. There’s going to be 25 of them here today and this is unique. We’ve never had a cadet patrol before and these are just cadets on this one today,” said Ms Beverley.

Councillor David Walton talks to Queenscliff SLSC cadets

Ms Beverley asked Northern Beaches Councillor David Walton, who is a Queenscliff SLSC member and was on patrol yesterday morning, to welcome the cadets back to the beach.

“We have a lifesaving agreement with the Council, that requires us to have a certain number of members on the beach patrolling to keep the beach open. Without that the beach closes,” said Ms Beverley.

As is typical for Cr Walton, a former police commander on the Northern Beaches, he kept it short and to the point.

David Walton

David Walton

“Volunteerism in Australia is a significant part of our culture. You’re contributing to it and it’s great that you’re giving back to your community, your family and friends. I’m sure it’ll stay with you throughout your life and your kids will do the same thing. It is a really important part of our culture, and surf lifesaving is a really important part of the Northern Beaches.

“That’s why your Council supports you with funding of your clubhouse and the boards and other equipment you use. You giving up your time to protect your society and your community is really important, and we appreciate it so much. It’s a great thing to be down on the beach with your friends, having a bit of fun, getting out on the boards and having a swim. Have a good season and thank you very much,” said Cr Walton.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate