Life’s a beach

Emily Bambrook (Louisa Jones)

With summer on the way, surf lifesaver and graduate-year nurse Emily Bambrook speaks to Luke Voogt about her efforts to help others and protect beach-goers.

Tell us about you…

I’m 21 and from Ocean Grove. This year I completed my bachelor of nursing at Deakin University and I will commence a graduate program in 2021.

I have been a volunteer at Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club (OGSLSC) for many years and love spending time down at the beach.

I was born in Geelong, attended high school in Drysdale and have spent my whole life growing up here.

How have you been involved with OGSLSC?

I was very sporty as a kid and spent a lot of my spare time trying out new sports.

I joined OGSLSC when I was 10 as part of the nipper program and have stayed ever since.

What I enjoy most would be the people I have got to meet throughout my time at the club and the opportunity to support the local community.

I have been an active patrol member since 2011.

Throughout this time, I have been given the opportunity to gain many new qualifications and work my way up the ranks to the role of patrol captain.

In summer 2019/2020 I was able to lead my team to achieve a perfect score on our state inspection conducted by Lifesaving Victoria.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Fred Leiper Best Patrol Person at OGSLSC’s annual award presentations.

I’m currently completing my rescue water craft training, which has been a goal of mine for a while now.

Some of my fondest memories growing up were during school holidays getting dropped off at the club and just knowing that your mates would be there, and spending all day out in the surf or catching up.

What was your most challenging patrol?

Fortunately, Ocean Grove is one of the safer surf beaches within the region.

Last season I experienced my most difficult patrol. It was a hot day, the beach was packed, the surf was up and a rip formed directly in front of the club.

It was a high-pressure situation to lead. The whole patrol banded together and we managed to rescue seven people and divert the public to a safer swimming area.

What are your favourite things to do locally?

I spend a lot of time down at many of the region’s beaches, mostly going for walks or swimming. I love going out for breakfast and coffee.

How are you coping with COVID-19?

I have spent the last year completing my nursing studies online, while juggling clinical placements on top of that with the risk of exposure to patients with COVID-19.

I’m looking forward to being able to travel again, even if it’s just within Australia.

COVID-19 has had many effects on lifesaving; for example our competition teams have not been able to attend events or train within a group.

Meanwhile, ongoing training has been limited, including how skills maintenance is undertaken in preparation for the upcoming patrol season.

I think it could be interesting to see a potential influx of tourists visiting beaches especially due to restrictions in Melbourne easing, and also adapting patrol operations to be COVID-safe, such as additional personal protective equipment and social distancing.

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