Students at John Therry Catholic High School were in for a treat last week with the arrival of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
The chopper - and its crew - visited the school on Thursday (May 21) to spread a message of beach safety.
The visit marked the service's first school landing of the year
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service (Southern) NSW provides a vital free community service each year, carrying out search and rescue missions, beach patrols and aerial surveillance, operating from its bases at La Perouse in Sydney and Moruya airport on the south coast.
Westpac state general manager Dylan Harrad-Chantler said students got to hear first-hand from the crew who dedicated their lives to helping others in the community.
"Westpac's support since the inception of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service means we have the opportunity to help educate our young Victorians about outdoor safety and emergency services in their local community," he said.
"In bringing the Westpac chopper to John Therry Catholic College, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew [provides] important safety tips and advice on how students can avoid getting into danger at local beaches and stay safe during an emergency."
Mr Harrad-Chantler said the visit was interactive and great fun, and students had the opportunity to watch the chopper land and ask the pilot and crew questions.
This summer there was a nine per cent increase in coastal drowning deaths compared to last summer, with 49 lives lost.
This equates to a person drowning on our coast every second day over the summer period.
Last year, the service was tasked to 211 missions in the region.
Trevor Cracknell has been a Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew member for 35 seasons and said it was very rewarding to work in a role to help keep the community safe at the beach.
"Delivering important water safety messages is what [these visits are] all about," he said.
"The kids often have many questions for us and are thrilled to see the helicopter land and take off at their school."