Bondi Rescue star highlights drowning dangers in Tyne and Wear

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and partners are hosting their annual water safety event on Newcastle Quayside on Sunday 5 May. The event will take place between 11am and 3pm, close to the Millennium Bridge.

This year, the event will feature special guest Trent Maxwell, better known as Lifeguard Maxi from hit TV show Bondi Rescue. Firefighters from both Tyne and Wear and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Services will demonstrate rescues from the River Tyne – using live casualties including Maxi and TWFRS Area Manager for Community Safety Lynsey McVay.

Area Manager McVay said: “Around 50% of the people who drowned in 2017 did not intend to go in the water, they were just walking or running nearby. This shows the importance of understanding the risks, knowing what to do if you fall in and how to help if you see someone in trouble in the water.

Our Swiftwater Rescue Team is made up of highly trained specialists and this event is a great opportunity to watch them in action, but we want to see a reduction in the number of incidents that they attend.”

AM McVay with Swiftwater Rescue crews on the fire boat

Maxi became the youngest professional lifeguard to patrol the world famous Bondi Beach at age 16, before training as a firefighter with New South Wales Fire and Rescue. As an ambassador for the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), he’s bringing his ‘Live Learn Survive’ safety workshops to UK schools and clubs.

He explained: “The River Tyne may be a little colder than I’m used to, but if our rescue demonstrations make anyone think twice around open water then it’s worth it. Being aware of the risks is so important – especially for young people.”

Lifeguard Maxi

Working with South Shields Volunteer Lifeguard Club (SSVLG), Maxi is also leading a rookie lifeguard camp for kids aged 6-16 on Saturday 4 May. The camp will take place from 1pm to 4pm on Sandhaven Beach, South Shields. Pre-booking through the SSVLG website is essential as places are limited.

TWFRS will be sharing plenty of water safety advice and showcasing the work of the Swiftwater Rescue Team on their social media channels throughout #BeWaterAware week (29 April to 5 May).