Safe and accessible beaches

Port Waratah has enjoyed a long relationship with a number of Surf Life Saving Clubs in Newcastle by supporting a range of events and projects for vital equipment.

In 2021, a new all-terrain vehicle was needed at Dixon Park Surf Life Saving Club. The vehicle provides lifeguards with a rapid response capability along the beach during a medical emergency or water rescue when even seconds can count. The compact four-wheel drive vehicle is equipped with rescue boards, resuscitation equipment, and is able to quickly tow the rescue boat to the water’s edge in an emergency rescue scenario.

Another innovative initiative was the purchase of a Freedom Trax machine in partnership with Cooks Hill Surf Life Saving Club. The Freedom Trax is a motorised wheelchair track attachment that transforms a normal wheelchair into one that can easily travel across sand. The new machine enables people with a physical disability, the freedom to enjoy the beach with minimal assistance and at the same time contributes to creating a more inclusive community.

Gus McConnell took the Freedom Trax out for a spin. “I’m on the beach, I can move myself around and I don’t have to rely on someone else,” Gus said.

“It’s seriously life-changing.”

On Australia Day, for more than 20 years now, the iconic Newcastle Harbour Swim has been staged. The Harbour Swim is hosted by Stockton Surf Life Saving Club with Port Waratah as proud sponsors of this special event. As the major fundraiser for the Stockton Surf Life Saving Club, proceeds from the event are used to provide the delivery of their services to the Stockton community. Newcastle is a busy working harbour and normally swimming is restricted, however on this one day a year, hundreds of swimmers dive in for a good cause and choose to take part in the social single crossing swim, or for the more competitive and aquatically inclined, the double-crossing swim.

Not only does the event draw many keen and adventurous swimmers, but also a large crowd of spectators that helps the Club purchase vital equipment and conduct on-going training to keep the community safe in the seasons ahead.

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