It was a seemingly serene, partly cloudy day when Terry McDermott scanned the famous coastline of Australia's Bondi Beach and noticed a little girl struggling in the surf. McDermott, one of the lifeguards on the reality television show "Bondi Rescue," grabbed his board and immediately paddled out. As the clip from the sixth episode of the show's eighth season reveals below, his frenetic pace is palpably paralleled to the urgency of the situation at hand. When it comes to rescuing children, there is a much deeper meaning for McDermott.
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"Probably got about 30 seconds, tops ... before she'll start to go under," McDermott says in his candid interview recapping the whole ordeal. Thirty seconds between life and disappearing out of sight. According to the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report for 2014, 266 people drowned in Australian waterways between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014. Of the reported drownings, 13 percent occurred at beaches, and 12 percent of all victims were 14 years old or younger. If McDermott gets distracted for even half a minute, it's a real possibility that these statistics will take a turn for the worse.

Out numbered at work where did winter go?

A photo posted by Terry McDermott (@lifeguardterry) on


In a Facebook Q&A, McDermott offers insight into his experiences of being a lifeguard and provides a few helpful tips to stay safe in the water. When asked to give one piece of advice for beachgoers, the lifeguard, who has 20-plus years of experience, says, "Read and obey all signage, swim in the flags [and] be friendly to everyone." On the contrary, when asked what things he's seen people do that were "dumb," he adds, "Leaving there [sic] bags next to the dangerous current sign and plunging into a raging rip current?????"

His insightful Facebook question session reveals that after his first rescue, he knew he was "onto something special." In the "Bondie Rescue" clip, rescuing a little girl flailing in the rip current and returning her to very grateful parents proves just how special McDermott's job is to him. Later in the episode, the lifeguard opens up about the loss of his own son, not to the unrelenting ocean, but to complications at birth. A week after McDermott's son was born, his boy tragically passed away, which is why he fights back the tears when he says, "Whenever I do a rescue of a young child, that comes to the surface."

For McDermott, being a lifeguard is more than just occasionally saving the life of a little girl in distress. It's also about sparing devastating heartache for the families. "If she had lost that beautiful little girl," McDermott concludes, as he dabs away the tears from his reddened eyes, "she'd know what I'm talking about."