Surf Life Saving Bronze Medallion

Yesterday we spent the day at the beach.  Such a treat for so late in Autumn to have clear blue skies and temperatures in the high 20’s (83F).  While at the beach we did the safety thing and swam between the flags.  When on the sand we were reclining close to the surf life savers and it did remind me of a time when Carl thought I should become a volunteer surf life saver at our local beach.

Carl’s good like that; he’s always finding outdoor pursuits for me to be involved in.  ‘You’ll love it’, he says, and I never do.  But I thought I should do my bit for the community and so I enrolled in the Bronze Medallion course that is the prerequisite for becoming a surf life saver.

Be aware of what may be lurking in the bushes

Be aware of what may be lurking in the bushes

I had to go once a week for a number of weeks at night for the theory component and then every Saturday or Sunday for the practical part.  The trouble was, the weather was horrific every weekend causing the beach to be closed so we had to do all our practical skills in the rock pool rather than in the ocean.  This included swimming, rescues, paddling out on boards and learning how to get a drowning person onto a board and bring them into shore – no easy feat but certainly less of a struggle if you’re standing in the pool’s shallow water instead of being out in the ocean.

A water dragon beside the pool

A water dragon beside the pool

Finally it was test day and the Good Lord must have heard my prayers for mercy because whatever the conditions, we were going out of the pool and into the ocean.  It was a perfect day at the beach with sunshine, warm temperatures, no stingers, no seaweed and low, low swell – hallelujah!

The first component of the all-day exam was the swim and for this we had to run down the sand, throw ourselves into the water, swim out to a buoy and back again, around 1km in distance.  One of the men in our group (there’s always one in every group) wasn’t a competent swimmer and he made a big announcement that we were to swim in a group and that no one was to get ahead of anyone else.  This didn’t make sense to me.  Surely a race is a race especially when we were only given a certain number of minutes to finish the race.

The sparkling pool

The sparkling pool

Well the whistle blew and off we ran and when I’d done about 10 strokes of freestyle I stopped and put my head up to try and find the rest of the group.  What made it confusing is that there were many groups being tested that day and so finding the contestants in my group was a nightmare.  They were all behind me so I waited for them to catch up and one by one they joined me and we were all treading water waiting for that final straggling swimmer then off I went again, another 10 strokes then I stopped to tread water and look around to find the others and wait for them to catch up and after the third time of doing this, I’d had enough of the group performance.  I decided to just swim along at my own pace and when I emerged from the water I had to run a distance along the sand and I was finished.

Where's my boy?

Where’s my boy?

I won the race!  I was so proud I was beaming.  But the instructor wasn’t.  ‘Where’s your group?’ he asked.

‘About 200mtrs back that way’, I said as I pointed to the water.

‘You were asked to swim in a group’.

‘I don’t understand that.  Surely if a rescue was on the idea would be to reach the drowning victim in the shortest amount of time?  So isn’t that what we should be aiming for?  Speed?’

Mother and Son

Mother and Son

Can you believe there was a discussion about whether or not I should be disqualified.  Disqualified for winning a race.  A swim where you have to race against the clock.  I was floored.  Anyway, they massaged the rules and I was allowed to continue with the examination and at the end of the day I was awarded my Bronze Medallion.

My sister, on the other side of ‘the bridge’ had also recently attained her Bronze Medallion.  I asked her if she had to swim in a group.  ‘Ridiculous’, she said.  ‘In my event it was dog-eat-dog.  From the moment the whistle blew everyone ran down to the water with their elbows extended making sure no one overtook them.  It was a fight to the finish and those who finished first were applauded’.

‘I was abused’, I said.

Relaxing under a waterfall

Relaxing under a waterfall

Anyway, I don’t want to say too many negatives about the surf lifesavers because they are all wonderful people donating many hours of their time to keep us all safe at the beaches.  I just seemed to have happened on a very bizarre examination style that isn’t part of the usual way Bronze Medallion students are tested.

I volunteered my time for one season at our local beach.  I didn’t save any lives.  But none were lost either.

The outdoor pursuit Carl had for me today was canoeing.  I canoed against the tide for a good few hours.  Tomorrow I may not be able to lift my arms.  I spent the afternoon in the resort’s pool recuperating.  Hence the images!




  1. Surely a race is a race, someone has to come first!! Congratulations on giving your time and doing the training. it’s everyone for themselves on the beaches here. GG

  2. Oh my goodness Charlie, you have had your challenges, haven’t you? And what type of challenging sports does Carl participate in, or is it just making reco’s for you? Why on earth would a weak swimmer ever want to be a surl life safer? To take a chance that someone on his watch might have a situation and he’d be needed to spring (or saunter) into action? Who does that? Not to mention I rather not be sent said loser to play with my life!
    Canoeing sounds like fun, but I hear you about your arms. Lucky you with the weather.

  3. Great shot of the water dragon, had to look twice to see it

  4. Oh, how I wish I was at this resort right now. Anyplace but in this snowy Minnesota landscape.

  5. LOL! I would drown doing the bronze medallion so hats off to you for “winning” you should try hireing the stand up paddle boards at Boambee Bay reserve, go with the tie both ways though 😉

    I am pleased you are having a good time )

  6. Love that you are able to enjoy a relaxing (sort of) time with your family…sounds nice.

  7. I love the waterfall!! I would have raced too 🙂 I’m so glad you’re all enjoying yourselves.

  8. Ah! This sounds so heavenly. It is currently snowing, and now all I can think about is sitting underneath that gorgeous waterfall and watching little ones race around the pool! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Congrats on your Bronze Medallion! My son will be really crazy about the water dragon! He reads and “studies” animals, reptiles, insects….everything. He loves swimming, but I bet he’d enjoy watching those water dragons more. I have never seen anything like that.

  10. Keep enjoying your holiday my friend with your family – it sounds so wonderful 😀


  11. Does Carl also take part in these pursuits? I don’t see the point of waiting for your group either and I most certainly wouldn’t be too happy about it if I was drowning and you were coming to rescue me ‘oh just stay afloat a little longer I have to wait for my buddy, he’s a bit slow!’
    Looks like you had fun recuperating from your kayak adventure.

  12. After about two weeks of constant snow…I really want to be sitting under that waterfall!! I am not a beach person, but you look like you’re having too much fun!

  13. Carl has great faith in you, which is quite a compliment. Very stupid one time rules, I would say. Some race!

  14. You have the most interesting adventures involving races. 🙂

  15. Hehe when you wrote “‘You’ll love it’, he says, and I never do” I laughed because hubby says that to me all the time. And how bizarre were those rules!!

  16. You look like you’re having such a wonderful time indeed Charlie!
    My mum was once rescued by PeeWee from the Deltonnes when she was a girl. She didn’t need to be, she was just floating happily on her back, but he was so helpful and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I guess it helped that she thought he was cute!
    I don’t understand how a non competent swimmer could try for their bronze medallion? Surely it’s part of the deal? I personally would much prefer to be rescued by the life saver who reached me in a timely manner and could assist me competently back to shore- instead of having to wait around for ages then use their own lifeless body as a float aid when they carked it because I was too far from the beach for them to manage. I’m kinda fussy like that 🙂 x

  17. You are quite the athlete! And a good sport! I would have been the one who needed rescuing! And you look terrific in your bathing suit…kind of jealous here :/

  18. I am rather impressed with how comfortable you are in the water–be it ocean or pool! And it’s obvious that Carl has the utmost confidence in your abilities, too. I hope he doesn’t decide to graduate you up the ladder to sky diving! This was a fun way to get to know you better, Charlie. I’m glad you shared. 🙂

  19. I’m with you, their rules make no sense! If someone is drowning, do you have to wait for someone else to catch up with you to help you rescue? NO, of course not!!! Those water dragons are really cool 🙂

  20. Don’t you hate amateurs who make up their own rules!!! My husband always has suggestions on what I would like to do too. Try a bit more relaxing in that pool.

  21. I love that picture of you in the waterfall. Far more relaxing than canoeing! I’m very impressed with your life saving training too. I got my bronze medallion when I was at school but fear I’ve forgotten everything now – and if I had to swim a race, I’d have great admiration for the winner as I trailed dismally behind!

  22. Alfie takes you for a tour. Carl has you canoeing. Seems the men in your life like to keep you busy. I’d be thankful Archie didn’t come with you lest he’d convince your to join a triathlon. 🙂
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday, Charlie.

  23. Absolutely ridiculous that they thought of disqualifying you! I would love to know what their logic is about swimming in a group.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  24. If I ever decide to swim at the beach again, I want you there. I want the person who’d swim as fast as she could to save me. xo

  25. You are a hot mama! Glad you are enjoying your vacation. It looks beautiful there. My arms hurt just thinking about canoeing!

  26. So, like… what do they think you’re supposed to do? Swim along in a giant group in the water, and then what? Everyone gets out of the water and legs it for dear life to the finish line to win? What’s that testing exactly? How utterly bizarre!

  27. Hi Charlie, look like you are having a great time. The picture of you at the waterfall, you look gorgeous.

    Best regards.

  28. Autumn at the beach is my favorite time in my favorite place. Sounds like you’re having fun and staying busy!

  29. Gosh that’s so stupid about the rules and that you may have been disqualified…like you said i think it’s important for life guards to save lives quickly and not wait… but doesn’t matter seems like you had a great day and I love the photos!

    Ps. I’ve done canoeing before and i couldn’t feel my arms for a week!!! xox

  30. There’s always one power hungry official no matter what the committee. A fun story an congrats on the win.

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