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Conference sees APOLA ride a wave of change
The Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association’s 2022 conference held at URBNSURF Melbourne has seen the body adopt a new name - the Australian Pool and Ocean Lifeguard Association (APOLA) - in an effort to broaden its membership and influence.
The conference also saw the election of Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins as APOLA President.
Commenting on the Association expanding its membership base, Hopkins explains “lifeguards play a vital role in the safety of millions of people who use waterways, pools and the coast every day.
“Lifeguards’ expertise and experience should be valued as they play a vital role in water safety which is often overlooked by Government and the industry.”
Working with the Australian Water Safety Council (AWSC) will be a priority for APOLA in supporting the AWSC aspirational goal of reducing drowning in Australia by 50% by 2030.
APOLA voted at the conference for the second year running to endorse the water safety message Float to Survive as a primary message.
The floating message has had great success in the United Kingdom in helping to reduce drowning according to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI). The Float to Live campaign was rolled out four years ago on the back of empirical evidence carried out at Portsmouth University in the United Kingdom by Professor Mike Tipton.
Professor Tipton’s work involved studying the various stages of drowning. If a person finds themselves in deep water the shock of immersion can see the victim thrash around and use valuable energy rather than fighting their instinct to struggle and simple roll on their back and float. By simply floating the chance of survival in water is greatly increased according to Professor Tipton’s research.
By having APOLA as an industry body which will listen to the concerns of working lifeguards and to provide a forum where all matters relating to water safety can be discussed and outcomes reached without the restrictions of a higher ruling body is a healthy move forward for the industry.
The last organisation to represent both pool and ocean lifeguards was formed back in 1956. It was called the Pool Attendant and Beach Inspector Organisation but faded away by the mid 1960s leading to the formation of the Institute of Professional Lifeguards in 1973 now known as APOLA according to Ken Holloway a founding member of APOLA.
Local council lifeguards and APOLA have driven change and improvement in ocean safety in Australia for decades according to APOLA National Training Officer, Ian Lee.
Lee advised “from new physical standards introduced in the seventies, to adapting the malibu surfboards for rescue work in the sixties and now developing the ‘Smart Beaches’ program in 2022, lifeguards have played a major role in improving ocean safety.”
APOLA also sees that the aquatic industry is rapidly changing.
Many Local Councils are looking for different options when renewing aging aquatic assets or considering ways to increase revenue by adding facilities like wave pools. APOLA members have an abundance of experience and expertise in managing pools and beaches. APOLA will be knocking on the door of all those involved in water safety to help them in their efforts to reduce drownings and serious injuries or how to develop their assets.
The Australian Pool and Ocean Lifeguard Association Inc (APOLA Inc) is a non-profit peak water safety association for lifeguards. It promotes and supports best practice in water safety and aquatic asset management in consultation with Councils and those working in the industry.
APOLA extends an invitation to any person or organisation to join who have an interest in aquatic safety.
The next APOLA conference will be hosted by the Gold Coast City Council in May 2023.
Images: APOLA Conference delegates at URBNSURF Melbourne (top) and new APOLA President Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins (below).
21st February 2022 - URBNSURF Melbourne to host APOLA’s 25th National Conference
27th January 2022 - UNSW research highlights risk factors behind South Asian migrant beach drownings
24th January 2022 - Surf Life Saving WA holds successful second annual Rookie Lifeguard Program
10th January 2022 - Lifeguard shortage and storm force ongoing closures of Ballarat pools
27th December 2021 - Campaspe Shire Council closes pools due to lifeguard shortage
20th November 2021 - The Y NSW seeks lifeguards and swimming instructors
16th November 2021 - Lifeguard shortages create reopening challenges for Victoria’s seasonal pools
19th April 2021 - Study shows aquatic centres struggling to recruit and retain lifeguards
13th April 2021 - Union says swim teachers set up and pack up is paid work
29th March 2021 - Woman arrested after spitting on lifeguard at Milne Bay Aquatic Centre
18th March 2021 - Drastic shortage of swim teachers puts young Australians at risk
12th January 2021 - New pool of lifeguards qualified in the Pilbara
29th December 2020 - Raging Waters Sydney uses Blacktown Council aquatic facility for lifeguard training
22nd December 2020 - Lifeguard Bruce Hopkins recognised at World Leader Summit
22nd October 2020 - New Lifeguard pods could help save lives on beaches this summer
25th September 2020 - Wollongong lifeguards prepared for 2020/2021 beach and pool swim season
14th July 2020 - Sunshine Coast expands lifeguard services to boost beach safety
7th January 2020 - Yeppoon Lagoon Lifeguard Team prevents Christmas Day tragedy
4th October 2017 - Weekend penalty rates deal secured for YMCA Victoria swim teachers
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