In March surf clubs from Sydney and the Far North Coast donated a truckload of rescue equipment which was sent to Phuket, Thailand, on board the HMAS Canberra. The shipment docked in Phuket last week.
As part of Australia’s Indo-Pacific Engagement, ships of the Australian navy regularly make port calls to our neighbours to maintain close ties.
Earlier his year the Australian Consul General in Phuket reached out to the Phuket Lifeguard Club and its Australian founder and patron, David Field, to see what water safety activities could be arranged to coincide with the visit of the Canberra.
The shipment of the rescue gear fitted in perfectly with an ongoing lifesaving development project between the Phuket Lifeguard Club and surf clubs from the Far North Coast.
This year’s annual training tour to Phuket was staffed by volunteer lifesavers from Fingal, Cudgen, Salt, Cabarita and Ballina clubs, who over the three days provided community lifesaving and CPR training for 50 local people and the Thai Tourist Police.
‘The high cost of getting large quantities of rescue and lifesaving training equipment to where they were needed was solved when the RAN offered to ship the equipment and deliver it to the Phuket Lifeguard Club,’ said Susan Eke, patron of the Phuket Lifeguard Club and Cudgen Surf Club chief training officer. ‘The shipment also contains 1500 donated child size buoyancy vests that the Lifeguard Club will distribute to villages in the south of Thailand where they have drowning prevention projects underway.’
Some of the vests have also been donated to the local government for use during floods in Phuket and neighbouring provinces.