Shoulder-to-shoulder they stood in silence, their eyes on the ocean.
The sound of crashing waves was all that could be heard as surf lifesavers at each of the Illawarra's 17 patrolled beaches stopped to observe a minute's silence on Monday afternoon.
As the clocked ticked over to 12.30pm, our red-and-yellow first responders' hearts and minds briefly turned to Victoria; where two of their fellow lifesavers died while trying to save someone else.
Father and son Ross, 71, and Andrew Powell, 32, drowned while trying to rescue a Singaporean tourist from rough waters near Port Campbell on Sunday.
The life-long members of the town's surf life saving club were thrown from their rescue boat, which capsized in the wild seas.
Another lifesaver was seriously injured during the rescue attempt - at Sherbrook River, near the Twelve Apostles - and was recovering in hospital.
Surf Life Saving Illawarra president Peter Evert, who observed the minute's silence with lifesavers at Woonona, said the weekend's tragedy was hard for members to fathom.
"It's very difficult when one of our own, a volunteer surf lifesaver doing the job that they want to do, tragically loses their life," Mr Evert said.
"All our lifesavers are highly-trained, highly-skilled ... something's obviously gone wrong in that circumstance and that will be for the coroner, I guess, to investigate.
"We all put ourselves at risk every day ... serving the communities."
Busy Easter at Illawarra beaches
The Port Campbell tragedy happened during what was a busy, yet drowning-free Easter holiday period for the region's surf lifesavers.
However, a number of rescues were carried out and lifesavers were required to help with multiple medical incidents.
"The fours days of Easter ... were very busy for Surf Life Saving Illawarra; attendance numbers were up and rescues were up," Mr Evert said.
"The ocean was quite rough, it's settled down a bit today [Monday], but there has been a number of rescues over the weekend."
According to Surf Life Saving Illawarra data, there were 36 rescues at the region's 17 patrolled beaches between Good Friday and Easter Monday. Hundreds of people were told to swim within the flags.
Two children and two adults were plucked from the water after they got caught in a flash rip at Woonona on Friday. Lifesavers returned all four safely to the shore.
At Thirroul beach, an off-duty lifesaver was praised for helping a teenage boy caught in a rip.
Thirroul surf club's Max Montgomery, who gained his surf rescue certificate just weeks ago, was surfing and paddled over to assist.
At Gerringong, lifesavers helped a man having a heart attack on a small boat out at sea on Sunday, but he couldn't be revived.
Meanwhile, the discovery of dive equipment, including a loaded speargun, sparked a large air and sea search in waters off Currarong at the weekend. The search was suspended on Sunday.
The 2018/19 surf life saving seasons ends on Sunday, with volunteers also patrolling the beaches during Anzac Day on Thursday.