As a volunteer lifesaver Larry Jennett's never really off duty. He's always watching the waves, looking for rips and keen to ensure anyone in his patch is safe.
Recently while on holidays in Port Elliot, South Australia, an emergency unfolded around him.
Police and paramedics had rushed to the beach where a woman was in trouble in the water. He was told the closest person to go out and rescue her at the remote beach was "20 miles away".
So, Mr Jennett did what came naturally and jumped in to rescue her.
"Unfortunately the lady had drowned by the time we got to her," he said. "It's the first body recovery I've ever done."
During his 62 years as a volunteer lifesaver, most served at Wollongong City Surf Life Saving Club, he hasn't done many rescues.
"In the time I've been in the surf club, I've done very, very few rescues, because I think I've always worked on prevention," he said.
"My belief is, if you've got a rescue, most of the time you haven't been observing what's going on."
Most of the rescues at Wollongong Beach are midweek in the summer, after lifeguards have gone home for the day. It's when the community flocks to the beach for a post-work swim.
Even when the red and yellow flags are up, Mr Jennett said many people ignore this patrolled area and swim elsewhere.
"On our beach, on any Sunday or any weekend, you will get probably 40 per cent of the people up around the flagged area," he said.
"The other 60 per cent will be spread out into three or four groups down the beach.
"Most of them [drownings] are a few 100 metres outside the flag on the long beach. People go where car parks are and they will go down the beach there."
Mr Jennett was just 12 years old when he first became a volunteer lifesaver. He joined the Thirroul club and was keen to compete in the swimming competitions.
Decades later the now 74-year-old is just as passionate about the service. His wife Helen, who he calls his great supporter, and their children Michael, Tim and Kate are also a part of SLS.
"My wife came up through the age when women weren't even allowed inside the front door of the surf club. That changed in the 80s and females have just skyrocketed in the organisation since then," he said.
These days around 50 per cent of SLS members are female.
One of his proudest SLS moments was competing with his sons at the Australian Championships masters event in Kurrawa, Queensland.
"We were running up the beach and they said there's Jennett, Jennett and Jennett from Wollongong [over the PA system]. I'm pretty proud of that," he said.
Mr Jennett is not only a life member of his club, but also the Illawarra Branch and NSW.
In 1991 he was the Illawarra Lifesaver of the Year, and in 2007 he was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to surf lifesaving, rugby union (his other passion) and his local community.
As he ponders the upcoming patrol season, Mr Jennett has decided he'll take things a bit slower - he'll step back as the club's head trainer and reduce the number of patrols he does.
But, this old, salty dog is definitely still keeping a toe in the water and you'll still see him around the club and on the beach.
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