Community-oriented Ben Mortimer (21) has been named as Ballina Lifeguard of the Year for 2016/17.
Ben faced an extremely challenging situation on the second day of the patrol season when he was among the first on the scene of a shark attack at Lighthouse Beach. Ben provided initial first aid treatment while also conducting crowd control.
Throughout the season he was involved in responding to a number of other incidents including on-water searches and tube rescues.
Ben doubles up as patrol captain at Ballina SLSC, a position he has held for the past three years, and also had an extremely busy season as an employee of the Australian Lifeguard Service.
One of Ben’s key strengths has been his communication ability with members of the public. Before the start of every shift, Ben placed the Lifeguard tent as close as possible to the flagged area to ensure he would have no problem interacting with visitors and locals alike.
These efforts did not go unnoticed and Ben enjoyed his role of informing people about the workings of the ALS and also passing on surf-safety tips to the public.
Ben has also been providing coverage for the ALS at Byron Bay and Lennox Head throughout the off season.
ALS Northern Coordinator Scott McCartney said this recognition was a richly deserved reward for an impressive young man.
‘Ben has proved himself to be a professional and valued member of the ALS team, and has enjoyed a highly successful season on the beach,’ he said.