Surf Life Saving NSW’s flagship educational program, Beach to Bush, has hit the road again for 2023, with nearly 50 volunteer lifesavers heading inland to promote surf safety to primary school students across regional and rural NSW.
Over the coming three weeks, more than 11,000 students will attend an Ingenia Holiday Parks Beach to Bush session with a record 101 schools participating. For many, this will be their first interaction with the iconic red and yellow surf lifesavers.
In a major milestone for the state’s largest surf education program, 2023 represents the 30th year of Beach to Bush. In that time and inclusive of this year’s program, more than 285,000 students have learned how to stay safe at the beach.
Students attending the program learn about the role of surf lifesavers, why they should always swim between the red and yellow flags, how to spot a rip current, what to do if they get into trouble at the beach and the different types of marine life along the coast. Lifesavers also talk about the hazards of inland waterways.
Children from regional and rural parts of NSW are often at higher risk than those from coastal locations because they are less familiar with the beach and unaware of potential surf dangers.
The key aquatic safety messages from the program can also be applied to rivers, dams, pools and other inland waterways.
“It is Surf Life Saving NSW’s vision that every student has access to important coastal safety information – regardless of the size of their school,” SLSNSW Community Education Officer, Jenni Clarke said.
“Every year more and more families are heading to the coast for holidays. Educating young Australians in safe beach practices is vital. Some children who attend a session have never actually been to the coast or swum in the ocean, let alone learned about rip currents and dangerous marine species.
“We have 16 tours this year with our lifesavers meeting students from Old Bonalbo and Mummulgum in the north-west, to Trundle and Tooraweenah in the Central Western Plains and out to Wakool and Finley in the Western Riverina in southern NSW.”
The NSW Government (through the Dept of Regional NSW-Primary Industries) has once again provided some financial support for the Beach to Bush program. The program is also proudly supported this year by Ingenia Holiday Parks as the Naming Rights Partner and ClubsNSW through Your local club.
Ingenia Holiday Parks’ Executive General Manager Tourism, Matt Young was glowing in his praise of the program and proud to be playing a part in bringing important surf safety messages to at-risk young people.
“As enthusiastic sponsors of Surf Life Saving NSW, we are thrilled to lend our support to the Beach to Bush program in its milestone 30th year,” he said.
“Given the proximity of many of our parks to Australia’s stunning coastline and other waterways, ensuring our guests experience both an enjoyable and safe holiday is of paramount importance to us.
“With a significant number of our guests coming from rural and regional areas of Australia, we recognise the immense value in imparting water safety education.”
ClubsNSW Chairman, Dr George Peponis said that the club industry is enormously proud of its long and close association with Surf Life Saving NSW – especially in supporting important educational initiatives.
“Under the Your local club banner, ClubsNSW has been the supporting partner of the Beach to Bush initiative since 2013 and we’re very pleased to continue this relationship in what will be the program’s 30th year,” he said.
“From Ballina to Batemans Bay, clubs right across NSW have a proud history of supporting Surf Life Saving NSW. This year alone, 124 NSW clubs have donated over $960,000 to Surf Life Saving clubs — the connection between both organisations is an organic one and will only continue to thrive in the future.”
Ingenia Holiday Parks Beach to Bush will run over a period of three weeks starting 6 November.
Tour 1: Week 2 (13/11) – Far North Coast: Nimbin, Larnook, Old Bonalbo, Mummulgum, Tenterfield, Kyogle, Bingara
Tour 2: Week 1 (6/11) – Northern Tablelands: Wollomombi, Guyra, Walcha, Bendemeer, Woolbrook, Uralla, Armidale
Tour 3: Week 1 (6/11) – Gemstone Country: Boomi, Delungra, Gum Flat, Bundarra, Barraba, Narrabri
Tour 4: Week 2 (13/11) – New England: Tamworth, Manilla, Attunga, Nemingha, Niangala, Hillvue
Tour 5: Week 2 (13/11) – Liverpool Plains: Wee Waa, Murrurundi, Gunnedah, Quirindi, Willow Tree
Tour 6: Week 3 (20/11) – Hunter Valley: Merriwa, Taree, Clarence Town, Kearsley, Milbrodale, Sandy Hollow
Tour 7: Week 2 (13/11) – Central West: Mendooran, Hargraves, Lue, Rylestone, Ilford, Wentworth Falls, Richmond, Meadow Flat
Tour 8: Week 1 (6/11) – Central Western Plains: Trundle, Trangie, Nyngan, Coonamble, Tooraweenah
Tour 9: Week 3 (20/11) – Central West: Cumnock, Orange, Spring Hill, Mullion Creek, Woodstock, Black Springs,
Tour 10: Week 3 (20/11) – Southern Tablelands: Yass, Bowral, Moss Vale, Glenquarry, Wingello, Goulburn, Crookwell, Boorowa
Tour 11: Week 2 (13/11) – Central West/Slopes: Naradhan, Ardlethan, The Rock, Wagga Wagga, Kapooka, Temora, Marrar
Tour 12: Week 3 (20/11) – ACT: Browning, Deakin, Franklin, Evatt, Coombs, Pearce, Red Hill
Tour 13: Week 1 (6/11) – Western Riverina: Culcairn, Walla Walla, Mulwala, Berrigan, Finley, Wakool, Ellerslie
Tour 14: Week 2 (13/11) – Wagga Wagga
Tour 15: Week 3 (20/11) – Maitland
Tour 16: Week 3 (20/11) – Cootamundra