HUNTER Surf Life Saving's (HSLS) member database has returned to its pre-COVID level, with a record 300 preparing to be assessed for their Bronze Medallion before Christmas.
HSLS branch - which covers 13 clubs - celebrated the late beginning of the nippers' season on Sunday at Bar Beach, where its chief executive Rhonda Scruton signed a new three-year sponsorship agreement with Newcastle Permanent chief executive Bernadette Inglis.
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The organisations marked a record 40 years of partnership by giving all junior members a pink rash vest.
"Without their support we would not have been in the position we are in," Mrs Scruton said.
The funding is used to provide equipment and training to protect beachgoers, plus to assist with the recruitment, training and retention of junior lifesavers.
Mrs Scruton said COVID-19 saw numbers drop to 6300 as of April 26, but they'd since risen back up to 7000.
She said this includes about 2800 nippers, plus 2800 patrol members as well as other administration, award and support members.
"People want to give back to the community and we're a really happy healthy way to do it," she said. "If you join kids up in nippers, they learn how to work in a team and they learn how to save their own life and then hopefully they can save someone else's life.
"Most of my lifesavers go on to become paramedics, doctors, nurses, firemen, police, they're people who go into helping other members of the community. "
She said 300 people were waiting to complete their Bronze Medallion. Another 250 are in training.
"We don't usually have numbers like that."
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