While promoting an important message, this year's Beach to Bush program will mark an important milestone for Robert Smith, affectionately known as Chalkie Bob.
The Wauchope Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) life member is in the state's Central West for his second trip as part of the Surf Life Saving NSW educational program.
Chalkie Bob was part of the first trip out west in 1994 when he and Port Macquarie SLSC life member and program founder, the late Max Waters travelled inland with an inflatable rescue boat in tow.
The pair visited 30 schools and spoke to 2,000 students about water safety in the weeks before the Christmas break.
30 years later and Bob is back, this time with the family in tow.
"Initially it was promoted simply because we were having a lot of drownings and a lot of the drownings were people west of the ranges and in remote parts of NSW," he said.
"They would come to the beach and had very little self awareness of the waves and the rips.
"It was one way of starting to get to those people and give them some education."
Bob's granddaughter Kyanah Goggin is also on her second Beach to Bush trip after a journey to the north west of the state in 2020.
She said its a great experience visiting towns off the beaten track while imparting valuable information about beach safety.
"It's my pop, my mum and myself doing the tour which is really special," she said. "Their passion and love for surf lifesaving has really inspired me to also continue in this especially as I've grown up and moved away."
Students are given a 45 minute presentation that focuses on beach and inland water safety, including information about sun protection, basic first aid and getting help from a lifeguard.
Surf Life Saving NSW completed almost 3,000 rescues in the 2021-22 beach season and administered first aid to 7683 people.
Bob has dedicated his life to being a lifeguard.
"I've been around for a long while, I've got a lot of wrinkles and a lot of skin cancers to show for it too," he said.
"I have always believed that surf life saving is one of the greatest humanitarian services in the world. It started in Australia and has continued. It's now in about 80 countries of the world.
"The important thing as far as I'm concerned is when women were allowed to join as full surf life saving members. It took a while but it's here to stay and we wouldn't survive without our lady members."
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