Sunshine Coast lifeguard Corey Jones was crowned Lifeguard of the Year at the Surf Life Saving Australia National Awards of Excellence at the weekend.
Corey, 34, first became a lifeguard when he was 17.
Now based full-time at Kings Beach and a crewman for the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service, Corey said he was thrilled to receive the award.
“I’m pretty stoked because this is the first professional award I’ve won within my workplace,” Corey said.
“It’s really nice to know all my hard work and helping out with the young guards has paid off.”
Corey first developed a passion for beach safety as a nipper and estimates he’s performed hundreds of thousands of preventative actions during his service.
“Every day is different which is exciting and it’s a great job to keep fit and healthy,” Corey said.
“The Caloundra bar is a common place for the bigger rescues and we get everything from kite surfers to boat rollovers.
“Working together as a team with all the emergency services is a good feeling and it’s great when everybody gets to safely go home at the end of the day.”
Sunshine Coast Council Economy Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said council’s $5.5 million investment in lifeguard services this financial year helped retain skilled lifeguards such as Corey.
“We are really fortunate to be able to recruit and maintain some of the very best lifeguards in Australia to ensure everyone can safely enjoy Sunshine Coast beaches and its surrounds throughout the year,” Cr O’Pray said.
“Council also recently launched a new beaches page on our website which features an interactive map highlighting the locality of both patrolled and unpatrolled beaches, which is crucial for people when deciding where they should swim, which at all times, should be between the red and yellow flags.”
Division 2 Councillor Terry Landsberg congratulated Corey for his stellar achievements.
“Corey is well regarded within both the local surf lifesaving and wider Caloundra community and we’re pretty fortunate to have someone of his calibre based right here on the Coast,” Cr Landsberg said.
Surf Life Saving Queensland regional operations manager Aaron Purchase said Corey’s award was a reflection of the great team on the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s about their diligence in undertaking the role, their commitment to it and putting in so much time,” Mr Purchase said.