Newcastle has a reputation for some of the best beaches in Australia, so it comes as no surprise that hundreds of thousands of people visit them each year. Many of us locals love to spend our weekend there, swimming, body boarding and surfing.
But our beaches can be unpredictable and have dangers and risks that can be potentially life-threatening. It means that the role of surf lifesaving clubs (SLSCs) and their volunteer lifeguards is crucial. Recognising this, Port Waratah has supported several local clubs including Cooks Hill, Dixon Park, Merewether, Newcastle, Nobby’s, and Stockton SLSCs. These clubs have long, and proud histories and their members are enthusiastic and determined to ensure our beaches remain a fun and safe place to be. Over the past three years, Port Waratah has provided All-Terrain Vehicles to several clubs enabling them to provide premium lifesaving services. Other support includes sponsorship of Blacksmiths 2 Breakwall Coast Walk, Newcastle Harbour Swim Classic, various safety awards, and even a clubhouse kitchen upgrade.
Callan Nickerson, President of Stockton SLSC says, ‘Port Waratah have provided huge amounts of support to us. For clubs like ours, it means we don’t have to focus on fundraising, but can focus on what we do best. Without them it would have meant a lot of chook raffles and barbeques.’
‘They started supporting our nippers program about seven years ago, and two years ago they gave us enough that we could purchase our new ATV outright. It’s vital piece of equipment because our beach is more than 30km long, so if there’s someone in trouble or drowning further north, or if there’s a missing kid we can respond quickly,’ says Mr Nickerson.
‘Port Waratah is genuinely interested in investing in things the community really benefits from. They don’t give a hand out, but a hand up.’
Stockton Surf Life Saving Club is a local community organisation operated by volunteers who are dedicated to protecting members of the public who surf and swim at Stockton Beach. The beach receives more than 30,000 visitors each year.