Coast lifeguards perform open water winching in CareFlight helicopter

FOUR Gold Coast City Council lifeguards were winched from a hovering CareFlight helicopter onto a Water Police boat in a mock rescue simulation on Monday.

The exercise – known as vessel transfer training – took place in open water at Main Beach to prepare the lifeguards for their new roles on board the RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter.

In the coming weeks, a Gold Coast Council lifeguard will offer their expertise during RACQ CareFlight Rescue water search and rescue operations, water winches and off-shore ocean rescues.


The lifesaving initiative is backed by the Gold Coast City Council and will enhance the service CareFlight provides to Gold Coasters, at no direct cost to those they save.

Monday’s daring vessel transfer training was provided by CareFlight’s own Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Academy based at Varsity Lakes.

CareFlight Instructor Matt O’Rourke said the lifeguards are now well equipped for all water rescues.

“Following today’s training session, the lifeguards can now help CareFlight’s medical teams winch sick people from cruise ships and save boaties from stricken vessels,” he said.

Last year, the service’s Gold Coast crew alone was instrumental in six rescue missions involving stricken vessels. That included the ground-breaking rescue of a 20 year old fisherman who was speared by a swordfish 100 nautical miles off the Gold Coast shoreline.

“The lifeguards have now undergone all necessary training and are prepared for life on the front line of emergency aeromedicine – whatever that may bring,” Mr O’Rourke said.