Two WA College of Agriculture Harvey students have been awarded a lifesaving bravery gold medallion for a courageous rescue they performed while fishing on a break from farm work.
Best friends 17-year-old Geoff Tozer and Toby Emmett were on a recreational boat at Horrocks Beach in the Mid West with Geoff’s father, Michael, when the vessel was hit by a rogue four metre wave.
The two boys had to step in and take charge when Michael sustained a severe injury, breaking his leg in 11 places and struggling to remain conscious.
They managed to drive the boat back to shore in severe weather and worked together to remove Michael from the boat, transport him up the beach and get help from bystanders.
“We were out fishing and things just went pear-shaped,” said Geoff.
“We got hit by a wave and knocked back, then free fell about four metres.
“I then had to get the boat through a break in the waves.”
The South West pair were recognised for their courage and determination at the recent 2021 Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards, taking home a gold-plated medallion.
In a feat of ingenuity, the boys had fetched their four-wheel-drive and found a sheet of plastic to put under Michael, using the vehicle’s snatch strap to pull him out of the whitewash and further up the beach, reported The Geraldton Guardian.
WA College of Agriculture Harvey principal Stephen Watt said Geoff and Toby worked well under stress, in a range of different circumstances, and were able to “handle anything asked of them”.
These qualities led to the students being selected to compete in the 2021 WorldSkills Australia National Championships in Perth in August. The event was supported by the WA Government and Western Australian Metropolitan TAFEs.
Geoff and Toby competed in the Primary Industries event which required competency and speed in a range of “all rounder” farm skills, including fencing, fertilising, livestock and sheep handling, machinery work, soil testing and addressing erosion
“We have done lots of things together,” said Geoff.