Beach education

My name is Louise Lambeth and I am an Ocean Beach surf lifesaver. My club was involved in a tragic search and rescue that all too soon became a search and recovery. My goal is to help prevent this from happening again!

Here is where it all began….

Once upon a winters day a family went to the seaside.  A mum, a dad, their children and their 5-year-old nephew. The sea was rough that day. The kids had a wonderful time, chasing the waves as they drew back into the sea and then running away as fast as they could as the waves surged back up the beach. It was so much fun.  When it was time to go mum and dad called to the kids and turned to collect their bags …… but their 5-year-old nephew wanted to stay so he remained by the water’s edge.

Suddenly, a large surging wave roared onto the beach.  The little boys’ legs could not outrun it! He was swept into the deep water so quickly that his family could not save him.

Tragedy only takes a second! …………………………………………………………………

On that winter’s day, Pearl Beach, July 2014, a little boy drowned.

There are so many people who simply do not know the dangers of the ocean.

This could easily have been my family; this could easily have been yours!

Would you have known the dangers and what to do?

I wrote Annie and the Waves 2 years before this tragedy and my story has the exact same risk components that occurred that day at Pearl Beach, a moments lapse in supervision, a small child alone by the waters edge, a surging wave…. but my story was written 2 years before this tragedy…. Amongst the horror and sadness I began to wonder.. what if I’d published my book and that family had read it, potentially this drowning could have been prevented.

Drowning is preventable yet it is the third largest cause of accidental death worldwide.  The 2020 Royal Life Saving Drowning Report records that 248 people drowned across Australia. Additionally, 504  people experienced non-fatal drowning that can lead to lifelong medical complications.  Approximately 42% of these were children aged 0-4!

I think we need to  change the way we think about being safe around water.

Annie and the Waves brings surf education into the home, school or early learning centre. It helps significant people in a child’s life to start conversations around risk and safety strategies. Together we can help turn the tide on drowning!