In an industry dominated by men, Lifeguard Fiona Borg has been breaking stereotypes for 23 years. She’s now the star of a new children’s book which she hopes will inspire more girls to achieve their dreams.
When she was a girl,
Fiona liked surfing on her pink board.
Some boys used to tease her but Fiona didn’t care.
She knew she could catch even the biggest of waves.
She could beat all the boys. She was strong.
And so reads the latest children’s book from Coogee author Elizabeth Cummings.
It’s based on the life story of Randwick Council Lifeguard Fiona Borg and tells how her love for the ocean lead to a distinguished career as a Council Lifeguard.
“Growing up on the beach that’s where you want to spend most of your time, so I thought why not become a lifeguard, life is a beach, so here we are!”
The unassuming and charismatic Fiona is down to earth about her job and a little shy about the recent publicity.
“I hope the book sends a strong message to kids about respecting the ocean when they come down to the beach. Hopefully it will give them a little bit of knowledge but also inspire them.”
Amongst 45 highly trained Council Lifeguards patrolling Coogee, Maroubra and Clovelly Beaches, Fiona is the sole female.
“It’s always been a male dominated job and girls might feel intimated or might think they’re not strong enough to do the job, but there’s a lot of girls out there that are,” she says.
“There are a lot more girls going through the surf clubs and there’s more girls surfing so maybe that might encourage a few more to come through the ranks.”
Fiona dismisses the idea that being a Lifeguard is purely about strength. She says there’s lots more to it including knowledge of the beaches and the ability to work well with people from all different backgrounds.
“You’ve got to have a love for the water, if you love the water and ocean, then it’s the perfect job for you.”
Fiona is proud that in her 23 years on the job, she’s only had to be involved in one resuscitation. The way she sees it, she’d prefer to keep people safe and happy and out of trouble.
“When you see the visitors and the locals having a good time, you know you’ve done your job well. You can go home at the end of the day, knowing they’ve had a great time and you’ve had a great time - how much better can it get, that’s what it’s all about.”
Randwick Council Lifeguards patrol Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra Beaches from 7am to 7pm during daylight savings.
Always follow these simple rules to stay safe:
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags, never swim outside them
- Do not swim directly after a meal or if under the influence of alcohol
- If there are no flags, the beach is closed or unpatrolled, DO NOT SWIM!
- Do not panic if caught in a current/rip. Raise one arm into the air to signal for lifeguard assistance. Float until help arrives.
- Do not swim if unsure of surf conditions.
- Swim with a friend
- Swim only at patrolled beaches
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