Some of the Coast's Top 10 volunteers based on beach patrol hours - Ian Warburton, Logan Pieters, Blake Ison, Brad Phillips, Cameron Ray and Candice Dover.
Some of the Coast's Top 10 volunteers based on beach patrol hours - Ian Warburton, Logan Pieters, Blake Ison, Brad Phillips, Cameron Ray and Candice Dover.

Coast lifesavers: Top volunteers who spend most time on sand

They're our heroes in red and yellow patrolling Sunshine Coast beaches every summer keeping swimmers safe.

With the help of Surf Life Saving Queensland, the Daily has compiled a list of 10 of our unsung heroes.

While lifesavers undertake a wide range of activities, from water safety at nippers to operations support, this list has been solely selected based on volunteer hours completed on a beach patrol.

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"These members are some of our most dedicated lifesavers who have volunteered a significant number of hours conducting beach patrols to watch over swimmers between the red and yellow flags," Sunshine Coast lifesaving services co-ordinator Riley Mitchell said.

"Many of them not only attend their rostered beach patrol but can be found on the beach most weekends giving up their time.

"While this list recognises those who have volunteered their time for beach patrols, we thank all our volunteers for their efforts safeguarding Sunshine Coast beaches.

"We are always looking for more members to get involved, if you're interested in becoming a lifesaver contact your local surf club."

 

TOP 10 SUNSHINE COAST LIFESAVERS BASED ON BEACH PATROL HOURS

1. Cameron Ray - 203.92 hours

Topping the list is Cameron Ray from the Metropolitan Caloundra club.

The 15-year-old has done 203.92 hours.

"Pretty stoked with that being able to give back to the community," he said.

"I started nippers in under 11s and I've just loved it ever since."

The teen said after his first patrol he knew it was the best thing in the world.

"Just being able to give back to the community," he said.

"First rescues it just sets that bar even higher letting you know that you're making a difference in someone's life and you can go home feeling better about that."

Ray has been associated with lifesaving now for eight years and is urging others to think about lending a hand.

"Come down to your local club and give it a go, it's the best thing in the world."

Metropolitan Caloundra’s Cameron Ray has topped the list for beach patrol hours.
Metropolitan Caloundra’s Cameron Ray has topped the list for beach patrol hours.

2. Andrew Strachan - 194.25 hours

Mr Strachan is the club captain at Dicky Beach and has been involved in surf lifesaving for around seven years now.

 

Mr Strachan said he first got involved with surf lifesaving because his children took part.

"It was trying to keep up with my son," he said.

He said it's the social part that keeps him going back.

"It's more about the friendships, the company and the people," Mr Strachan said.

"I definitely don't chase any sort of accolade for having done that (the hours)."

3. Kerrie Bray - 178.25 hours

Ms Bray is a member for the Dicky Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

 

She decided to get involved after seeing her children go through nippers.

"Once they got to a certain age I ended up doing my bronze, which was six years ago and then I started patrolling," she said.

"Now I've come up into the senior club registrar role."

Ms Bray said it's the friendships made through lifesaving that keep her coming back.

"It's the people, the sociable side of things," Ms Bray said.

"It's a great club with a great location.

"We've formed some really great friendships throughout the years of nippers and that we still all hang out together."

Kerrie Bray from the Dicky Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.
Kerrie Bray from the Dicky Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

 

4. Logan Pieters - 169.25 hours

Logan Pieters, 15, is part of the Coolum Beach surf lifesaving club.

"For me it's just good to get down to the beach, volunteer your time and just help out really," he said.

"It's a lot of fun as well, anything could happen during the day, rescues, incidents all that type of stuff, it's just good fun.

"It's awesome, I love it and everyone there is lovely, a lot of helping people in the club."

Surf lifesaving runs in the Pieters family, with Logan's parents patrol captains at Coolum Beach as well.

The teen is also the current radio communications officer for Coolum as well.

"I just jump down in the morning and do a couple of shifts on the weekend, just whenever I'm free."

As for the future the teen has big plans to stay involved.

"Further down the track when I turn 17, I'd love to get my silver medallion for beach management so I can be a patrol captain and have my own patrol."

15-year-old Logan Pieters is a dedicated volunteers at Coolum Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.
15-year-old Logan Pieters is a dedicated volunteers at Coolum Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

5. Brad Phillips - 148.43 hours

Bribie Island surf lifesaving volunteer Brad Phillips said he grew up with surf lifesaving.

"Right from when I was a child, I think I started nippers when I was seven in 1967," he said.

"It's just something you do, you give something back.

"I've read studies that show people who do volunteer work have healthier lives and happier lives and I would agree with that."

Mr Phillips said volunteering brought balance to his life.

"I work in a fairly cut throat industry so it's a yin and yang thing," he said.

"We're a small club and it's a volunteer system with rosters, life gets in the way and people sometimes can't meet their rosters so I go down and help out."

"It's the people that keep you there," Mr Phillips said.

"The analogy I use when I describe it to an outsider who's thinking of getting involved is, I say 'even the good, the bad, the ugly in the club, they're all there at least at the underlying reason of doing something for other people for nothing'.

"Even the worst of us isn't a bad sort of person."

Brad Phillips from Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club.
Brad Phillips from Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club.

6. Stephen Maitland OAM RFD - 134.25 hours

Mr Maitland has been a volunteer at Metropolitan Caloundra coming up 30 years.

"Our two sons started nippers, so I was a nipper parent and I was 40 when I started the involvement," he said.

On doing his bronze medallion Mr Maitland said he's always been fairly active so it wasn't overly difficult but it was good fun doing it.

"I've always been a volunteer," he said.

"I spent over 20 years in the army reserve before I started lifesaving so I've always done something outside for the community.

"It's just such a lovely atmosphere being on the beach and being active and helping people."

Mr Maitland said he enjoys meeting people from all walks of life.

"You meet some terrific people in the public but the other lifesavers, nippers and so forth, it's just such a great range of people there that you probably wouldn't otherwise come across in your daily life," he said.

"It's a great way of keeping in touch with how young people think and what they're doing and just being part of a community."

Stephen Maitland OAM RFD is a member of the Metropolitan Caloundra Surf Lifesaving Club.
Stephen Maitland OAM RFD is a member of the Metropolitan Caloundra Surf Lifesaving Club.

7. Blake Ison - 126 hours

Mr Ison is a part of the Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club.

The 26-year-old is blind but that hasn't stopped him from serving the community.

"In 2007 I came over from New Zealand and a teacher of mine actually suggested with my abilities I should become a radio operator and join surf lifesaving," he said.

"I've always had a passion for volunteering and it won me over.

"I'm actually one of the only, if not possibly the only lifesaver in Queensland who has no vision."

He's been involved for almost 14 years now.

"The passion with which myself and others ensure the beaches of the Sunshine Coast are protected and are as much as we can fatality free," Mr Ison said.

"Also the camaraderie that comes from being a member of a club where pretty much 100 per cent of us are volunteers and we all come together with one common goal."

"I love doing the amount of hours that I do, I think the more hours I can do the safer our members of our public are going to be."

Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club’s Blake Ison on patrol.
Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club’s Blake Ison on patrol.

8. Martin Tam - 125.92 hours

Mr Tam is a Bribie Island volunteer who walked into the club in 1998 and said 'I want to be a lifesaver'.

The 66-year-old from Morayfield has been involved with surf lifesaving for more than 20 years.

"I love the beach, swimming and surfing," he said.

"The island is handy for me to go there and after that I can get to work.

"I just love it, to give something back to the community that's why I want to challenge myself and keep fit as well."

Mr Tam said it's the people who keep him going back.

"I love the people there, the local people come to see me and say hi in the morning and just talking with them."

His club mate Brad Phillips said when Mr Tam first came to the club he couldn't swim.

"He then got his bronze (medallion) and there would be a generation of kids that have gone through the club and to them he's 'Mr Lifesaving'," Mr Phillips said.

"He's gone away learnt everything there is to learn and translated our blue book into Cantonese.

"He's just an amazing man."

66-year-old Martin Tam volunteers at Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club.
66-year-old Martin Tam volunteers at Bribie Island Surf Lifesaving Club.

9. Ian Warburton - 123.75 hours

Mr Warburton is a member of the Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club.

"I'm a Vietnam veteran and there's a couple of Vietnam veterans got me interested in it," he said.

"They actually got me to join the club and do a course to become a radio operator.

"So, I was a radio operator in the tower for about three months and I decided I'd do my bronze medallion and it went from there."

Mr Warburton has been involved in surf lifesaving now for around eight years and is now a patrol captain.

"A typical day is go down, set up the beach, have a look at the water, make sure the flags go up in the correct place and just get on with business," Mr Warburton said.

"At Mooloolaba it's a very family oriented club and with the extra hours I do on different patrols I meet different people and your family group kind of grows with the more patrols you do, it's good."

The 70-year-old also lends a hand with the starfish nippers program.

"Working with special needs nippers on a Sunday morning … that's very rewarding just to see the smiles on their faces," he said.

"You're interacting with them in the water, on boards or even doing beach sprints - it's just another facet of the club that's very good."

Ian Warburton is a patrol captain at Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club.
Ian Warburton is a patrol captain at Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club.

10. Candice Dover - 119.5 hours

Ms Dover has been involved in surf lifesaving for six years and a member of Metropolitan Caloundra since 2018.

Ms Dover was inspired to join by her son.

"We lived at Broadbeach and some of the current ironmen were at Kurrawa and we used to go to the beach everyday and see them," she said.

"And my son who's now in under 11s is kind of obsessed with becoming an ironman himself."

The mother of two is the current club captain.

"It's really good, it's different in a good way but I've learnt a lot," Ms Dover said.

"I wouldn't be able to do it (without the club) the club is amazing, we have some really amazing members and the support that we get is really great and that's made all the difference."

For Ms Dover it's the family-friendly environment and the people that keep her going back.

"Honestly, I think it is the members and you're on the beach and you can't beat the beach, it's the best way to spend the weekends," she said.

"It's really inclusive, we're really lucky, my youngest son has got severe autism.

"And I might be patrolling or age managing or water safety and he can just go and sit in the tower or he can sit in the tent.

"It doesn't matter who it is that's there he just slides right in and it's a really nice family environment."

Candice Dover is a club captain at Metropolitan Caloundra Surf Lifesaving Club.
Candice Dover is a club captain at Metropolitan Caloundra Surf Lifesaving Club.

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