Teen lifeguard awarded for saving a life

25 October 2019

A young Kalgoorlie Lifeguard was honoured during a special ceremony at the Goldfields Oasis Leisure Centre last night, after rescuing a young girl during an event at the centre earlier this year.

James Gent with RLSSWA's Greg Tate17-year-old James Gent was working at the Goldfields Oasis’ 20th anniversary celebration event when he noticed a patron in trouble. A young girl had jumped off the end of the inflatable obstacle course into the water and was unable to stand. She was waving her arms in the very distinct manner of a distressed swimmer. James told the ABC "I looked around and no other staff was close enough, so I instantly took it upon myself to dive in there, swam out with my clothes and shoes on, retrieved the girl from under the water and bought her back to the side.”

James then alerted the Duty Manager and applied basic first aid. Thanks to James’ quick thinking and timely response, the girl was unharmed.

This incident occurred on a very busy day at the pool with over 400 patrons visiting the facility, and it would have been very easy for this incident to have had much more serious consequences. James’ rescue was even more impressive as at the time he was working as a Bronze Lifeguard or pool assistant, which means he hadn’t yet received his full lifeguard qualification. Despite this, James had been proactive in attending team meetings and training sessions and was able to recognise the signs of a swimmer in distress and immediately render assistance.Goldfields Oasis staff and Local Government members with Bravery Award winner James Gent outside the pool at Goldfields Oasis

James is commended for his ability to put his training into action to respond to this emergency and has been awarded the Royal Life Saving Gold Star Bravery Award. He is due to take his Year 12 exams next week and if all goes to plan is hoping to become a doctor. Royal Life Saving WA wishes James all the very best in his future!

The Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards recognise and acknowledge the efforts and actions of people who have performed a rescue and/or resuscitation and, by applying this knowledge, have saved another’s life. The awards recognise both members of the general public and staff at aquatic centres.

More than 10 million visits are made to WA’s public aquatic centres each year and the vast majority of these are uneventful. Emergencies can and do happen however and when they do, WA’s well-trained workforce of lifeguards take action, in many cases saving a life.

If you know someone who has saved a life why not nominate them for next year’s Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards? You can complete a nomination form at the link below.

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