Surf life saving clubs along the Gippsland coast provide an important service as thousands of Victorians head to our beaches every summer.
There are official Life Saving Victoria clubs at Lakes Entrance, Mallacoota, Seaspray, Woodside Beach, Cape Paterson, Inverloch, Venus Bay, Waratah Beach, Wonthaggi and Woolamai Beach.
Trained lifesavers patrol beaches during the summer months, ready to come to the aid of any swimmer who gets into trouble. So far this season, they have undertaken around 8200 preventative actions statewide, 90 rescues and provided first aid assistance to 800 people.
The small town of Woodside Beach is just 10 minutes from Woodside, near Yarram.
It has around 260 permanent residents. In summer that triples, with many holidaymakers coming in from around the Wellington and Baw Baw Shires, Latrobe City and even Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Quite a few own holiday homes or keep a permanent van in the town’s caravan park.
Woodside Beach has a good, clean, sandy beach. Then after a day on the beach, surf life saving club members provide meals and beverages for visitors and locals on Saturday nights during the summer season. The “bistro” is an important fundraiser for the club.
Like other clubs, Woodside Beach gets 8 to 14 year olds involved as Nippers. Teenagers and older can train to qualify for Surf Rescue Certificates and Bronze Medallions, ready to go on the club’s volunteer beach patrol roster.
The club is promoted in schools, local communities and the Woodside Beach caravan park, from where Nippers are recruited, getting them involved at a young age.
Quite a few holiday regulars also get involved in the club and have become qualified patrol volunteers.
Larger clubs like Lakes Entrance and Seaspray attract a lot of attention. However, smaller clubs like Woodside Beach are also worthy of support. You should at least see what a magnificent beach they have there.