Ed Abbott is a very recognisable face around the University of Wollongong. If you haven’t seen him at UniBar, then you’ve still probably seen him on the screens around UOW presenting PopUp, or as part of the informative UOW Experience video series, which are designed to help students navigate their time at the university.
What you might not know about Edward is that he is also Jamberoo’s very own David Hasselhoff, saving lives and breaking hearts day in day out at the popular local tourist destination.
So, Ed, how did you start out as a lifeguard?
The person who worked at the local pool at home the summer before I worked was moving away, so the pool was short staffed and the pay was good. I just decided to do it.
So that was before coming to university? How long have you been a lifeguard now?
Yeah, and I’ve been a lifeguard since the 2011/2012 summer.
Did you find it difficult going from a small local pool to the larger job at Jamberoo?
It was more intimidating, and more responsibility but it made me adapt quicker and I feel like I stepped up to that challenge.
What kind of training was involved in becoming a lifeguard?
I had to get my bronze medallion. I bronze medallion is just a measure of how good a swimmer you are (Bronze, Silver and Gold). To be a lifeguard you need to have your bronze. I needed a workplace first aid certificate, and a lifeguard license which in total was almost a week of courses.
Do employers just trust these, or did they test you as well?
Um, well they are proper qualifications like any other license etc, so employers trust it. They gave us extra training at Jamberoo.
Since divining into lifeguarding 4 years ago, have you had any experiences or interesting stories to share?
I’ve had to save stupid people. I had to save a kid once, and the mum was right next to him and didn’t realise he was drowning. Like literally a meter away.
So, I think what we all learnt from this was, keep an eye on your kids.
Thanks to Ed for the interview!