“They had flipped themselves into the water. There was no time to waste! I immediately tapped Nathan who was on patrol with me that day, and said: ‘We’ve got to go . . . now!’”

- Simon, volunteer Surf Life Saver

It started out as a normal sunny day on St Kilda beach. Volunteer Surf Life Savers, Simon and Nathan, had no idea that the afternoon would take such a horrifying turn. Simon spotted a guy and girl floating on a blow-up boat that had been blown out to sea.

“We put our life jackets on and jumped into the inflatable rescue boat. We saw that the people in the blow-up boat were starting to panic. They were both shivering and had nothing to hang onto except a small, flimsy paddle that they both clung to desperately.”

Thousands of us will spend the day at the beach with our loved ones this Australia Day, while volunteer Surf Life Savers give up time with their families - patrolling our beaches to keep us safe.

I know how much your support means to volunteers like Simon. Please help us make certain that Surf Life Savers have the most updated first-aid training and lifesaving equipment; like inflatable rescue boats, defibrillators and oxygen resuscitation kits they need to respond quickly to saving lives in any situation - just as they were trained to do.

“As soon as we got out to them, we grabbed them and pulled them into the inflatable rescue boat. They were both really pale and going into shock. I’ll never forget how the girl was looking at me — her eyes wide and scared. The guy was breathing so heavy. You could tell he was badly shaken. It had been a traumatic event for them both.”

Thankfully, Simon and Nathan were able to get them safely back to the beach and into the patrol shelter where they were given oxygen. But without this lifesaving equipment and specialised training, those two beachgoers could have lost their lives that day.

Please remember, swim between the red and yellow flags – because if we can’t see you, we can’t save you!