Ocean experts, Bondi Rescue star to descend upon Urbnsurf

In what is likely to be the world’s first national lifeguard conference to be held at a wave park, the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association (APOLA) has advised that its 25th annual Conference will be held at Urbnsurf Melbourne Australia.Set to welcome leading ocean safety experts from around Australia on the 5th and 6th of May 2022, among those presenting will be Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, who is the President elect of APOLA and star of the TV series “Bondi Rescue.”

Ian Lee, APOLA’s National Training Officer describes Urbnsurf as the perfect venue to hold the conference noting that the aquatic industry is rapidly changing.

“Many Local Councils and water safety providers both local and international are looking for different options when renewing aging aquatic assets or considering ways to increase revenue by adding facilities like wave pools,” said Lee. “This a great opportunity to inspect the facilities at Urbnsurf and network with industry leaders.”

Conference Topics

With the nexus between risk and water being constant, how risk is managed and limiting exposure to costly litigation will feature strongly at this year’s conference.

Hopkins believes that strategic pool and beach supervision plans are essential for minimizing guarded drownings and serious injuries. After decades of supervising Bondi one of Australia’s busiest beaches, Hopkins is well qualified to talk about improvements in scanning and victim recognition.

“It’s all about constant surveillance and quick response. If we can minimize the time from when somebody gets into trouble to when help arrives, we maximize their chance of survival.”

APOLA is concerned that lifeguards who are inexperienced with surf are being employed at wave pools without specialised training.

“Generating surf in a confined area over a hard bottom with varying depths presents additional risks”. Ian Lee added.

Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins, President-elect of APOLA. Image supplied.

Airlie Beach Lagoon Drowning

Response times to drowning events are currently gaining attention lately with action being taken against Whitsunday Regional Council which operate the lagoon at Arlie Beach in Queensland and their former lifeguard service contractor following the downing of a Chinese tourist and his son

Littles Lawyers currently representing Mr Zhang’s widow have filed court documents in Mackay claiming damages of more than 20 million yuan or around $4.5 million dollars.

It is understood that the plaintiff’s legal team will argue that both the Whitsunday Regional Council and the contractor failed in their Duty of Care.

Statewide Mutual

Statewide Mutual, Australia’s largest member-owned local government self-insurer, have been working alongside N.S.W. Councils since its formation in 1993 to reduce their exposure to risk and ensure they get the most from the industry’s leading mutual.

Representatives from Statewide will be keynote speakers at the conference. They hope to give lifeguards and risk managers a better understanding of their ‘Duty of Care’ and the process when a person takes action against a council and or the contractor arguing negligence. Talking about case law and limiting exposure to litigation should be of interest to everybody who provides a water safety function.

The Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association Inc (APOLA Inc) is a non-profit peak ocean safety association for Local Council employed beach inspectors and ocean lifeguards. It promotes and supports best practice at beaches, wave parks and aquatic facilities in consultation with Councils and those working in the industry.

APOLA extends an invitation to any person or organisation to attend the 25th APOLA National Conference who have an interest in water safety. Key note speakers and conference program will be available shortly.

Endless Surf 2023A