Matthew Gardiner spends most weekends volunteering, either on the beach patrolling, roving on a jet ski or monitoring radio communications in SurfCom.
His performed multiple rescues, even saving the life of a four-year-old girl after she was swept off a sandbank.
But it isn’t all about performing rescues for Matthew, rather being there for the community in whatever way they need.
“Even if it is as small as someone wanting sunscreen, it is great to be able to help them out,” he said.
“A few weeks ago, we had an elderly gentleman that was looking for some company, so he sat with the patrol for a few hours and it was nice to have a chat with him.”
Gardiner’s curiosity from listening to the radio on patrol led to him becoming an Operations Support member.
“I was always curious when I heard people on the radio what was going on behind the scenes, so I applied to be a volunteer SurfCom operator,” Gardiner said.
“It is something I would encourage others to do, it’s my second season in SurfCom and I have learnt so much.
“All the staff and volunteers have so much knowledge they are willing to share, along with some great stories from their experiences.”
He also volunteers his time as a Rescue Water Craft operator, patrolling Gold Coast waters on a jet ski making sure everyone is safe.
“It is a great way to expand on your skills, learn about other beaches and get to know people from different clubs,” Gardiner said.
The 19-year-old says the additional roles and training opportunities his undertaken have given him skills which can be applied outside of lifesaving.
“Whether it is learning how to talk to people effectively or interacting with people you usually wouldn’t, it all helps build your confidence,” he said.
Article by Chloe Maxwell