Chief training officer at Gold Coast’s Kurrawa Surf Life Club Harvie Allison was informed some time ago that the club had four surplus rescue boards.
Allison said Rarotonga was the first on his mind, later contacting Cook Islands Water Safety president, Brent Fisher in a bid to get sponsorship for transport. Over the past year the rescue boards, located at Trader Jacks have saved around 10 lives.
The last rescue involved two German tourists and the one before that, with the help of two Traders bar staff and John Beasley, saved five local children.
The plan is to put another board at Trader Jacks and the others around by the dangerous passages on the island.
Fisher said DHL Australia were more than happy to help by couriering the boards in Australia.
“They (DHL) are major sponsors of Surf Life Saving in Australia and were keen to lend a helping hand to the community, a great company that shares many core values with the Surf Life Saving family,” he said.
Dolphin Surf Craft sponsored the packaging of the boards, “so that they arrived safely in Rarotonga,” said Fisher.
Air New Zealand, sponsored the airfreight from Australia to Rarotonga, where manager Marisa Newman and her team were said to be a driving force behind the initiative.
In addition to the boards, Surf Life Saving Queensland have donated professional resuscitation masks to further bolster community safety here.
The new masks are top of the line and will assist with teaching correct resuscitation procedures at community level.
Fisher commended Allison and Surf Life Saving Queensland CEO John Brennan for supporting water safety in the Cook Islands, a notion he has always deemed vital.
“A big thanks to all those who continue to support community lifesaving in Cook Islands, especially those who helped get the rescue boards and masks to Rarotonga and into the community,” Fisher said.
Fisher said there will be a training course for water safety in October this year, run by CI Red Cross, “Red Cross can be contacted for more information,” he said.
Anyone interested in becoming involved with surf lifesaving is invited to contact Fisher on 55154.
- Shae Osborne/ CIWS