Jan Juc local Amelia Belle has been involved in lifesaving all her life.
In fact, she was one of the first “nippers of a nipper”, with her mum a nipper at Jan Juc Life Saving Club herself. Her dad, too, has been with the club for years, while mum is always helping around the club.
Amelia’s parents actually met as teenagers at the Life Saving Club, becoming fast friends and later marrying. It’s definitely ‘in the blood’.
Amelia began as an under-eight nipper, competing in carnivals and state championships. In the under-14 group, she trained as a lifesaver and was able to patrol beaches. Then, at 15, she obtained her bronze medallion just like her parents did as juniors, as well as completed her inflatable rescue boat training.
Last year, Amelia completed her gold medallion – advanced lifesaving conducted by Life Saving Victoria, and obtained her silver medallion/beach management qualifications. And she still competes.
This summer, Amelia became a paid Lifeguard for Life Saving Victoria, working in teams at various Surf Coast beaches. She says the season was “massive”.
“I did a couple of rescues at a couple of beaches, but for the Jan Juc volunteers some amazing statistics have been recorded – just for the weekends since November,” she says.
“We had 16,241 visitors at Jan Juc beach; more than 190 patrolling members (including me); 17 major first aid events; and 1741 preventative actions. It was a huge season.”
Needless to say, Amelia loves patrolling.
“People are always so nice when you are on patrol, really appreciative of the service, and it’s a great way to meet people of all ages and backgrounds. I’ve patrolled a few local beaches as well as Jan Juc this season – Torquay
surf beach and Cosy Corner, and Anglesea beach.
“The lifesaving world is fantastic. It’s given me invaluable life skills and instilled a lot of confidence. And it’s great for making friends from all over – I still have close friends from my nipper days.”
Amelia is completing Year 12 this year, with the hope of going on to Melbourne University to study science.
“My lifesaver experience will definitely help me with my uni education, another advantage of being part of the lifesaving community.”
Amelia strongly endorses the Victorian Lifesaving directives, and never more so than with the 43 drownings in Victoria so far this season.
“Always swim between the red and yellow flags. Always swim with a buddy. Always visit beachside.org.au to check if a beach is patrolled.
“And if you can’t see a lifesaver, we can’t see or save you.”