SURF L I F E S AV I N G QU EEN S L A N D | I SSU E 2 1 | 2019
YEAR IN REVIEW Record-breaking year of patrols WAVE OF CHANGE SLSQ welcomes new CEO MEMBER DEVELOPMENT SLSQ buoyed by membership increase
SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
W E LC O M E
On 21 September, thousands of volunteer surf lifesavers across the state returned to the beach and raised the red and yellow flags once again as Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) officially kicked off its 2019/20 patrolling season. Over the next eight months our members will spend each weekend and public holiday watching over Queensland’s coastline, protecting and supporting communities, and ensuring that everyone can enjoy their time at the beach safely. Last season alone they volunteered almost 320,000 hours on patrol, combining with our professional lifeguards to protect more than 21.5 million beachgoers and rescue 3,894 swimmers in distress. These are truly remarkable figures, highlighting the enormous value our organisation brings to all regions across Queensland. From a personal perspective, I’m really excited to have come on board as CEO of SLSQ in July, and it’s an honour to lead such a wonderful and iconic organisation into the next chapter of its history. My three daughters have all come up through the movement in nippers and I’ve been involved myself in various capacities as a volunteer over the years, so I’m acutely aware of the incredible impact our organisation can have on individuals, families, and entire communities across Queensland. There are literally tens of thousands of people out there today who owe their lives to our men and women on patrol and, ultimately, that’s what drives us as an organisation. Our members come from all backgrounds and walks of life, but they all share a common goal – to save lives. And with the peak summer months just around the corner, their work has never been more important.
Dave Whimpey CEO Surf Life Saving Queensland
18 Manning Street, South Brisbane, QLD, 4101 | t. 07 3846 8000 | w. lifesaving.com.au Beyond Patrol staff and contributors | Writer: Cameron Ward | Designer: Vanessa Bertagnole
LIFESAVERS FLAG BEACH SAFETY AFTER RECORD SEASON Key new figures released by SLSQ have again demonstrated the critical role that surf lifesavers and lifeguards perform up and down our state’s coastline.
“The number of rescues we performed this year increased by over a thousand when compared to last season, which is a significant jump in the scheme of things,” Ms Lawlor said.
The data, included as part of SLSQ’s recent annual report and Coast Safe Report, highlights an overall increase in the number of beachgoers who visited Queensland’s coastline in 2018/19, along with a significant jump in rescues performed.
“There were a number of occasions where we recorded in excess of 70 or 80 rescues in a single day, which also goes to show how demanding and challenging it’s been for some of our patrols in recent months.
More than 21 million people visited Queensland beaches in the 12 months from 1 July 2018 through to 30 June 2019, up from 19.7 million people the year before.
“Unfortunately, our data shows there are still quite a few rescues being performed outside of the flags, which obviously remains an ongoing concern, and that’s something we’ll continue to address moving forward. continued...
During the same period of time, surf lifesavers and lifeguards combined to perform an incredible 716,215 preventative actions, treat 65,133 first aid patients, and rescue 3,894 swimmers in distress. This represents a dramatic increase in patrol activity when compared to 2017/18, including a two per cent growth in preventative actions, an 84.7 per cent surge in first aid treatments, and a 35.9 per cent spike in the number of rescues performed. SLSQ lifesaving services manager Peta Lawlor praised surf lifesavers and lifeguards alike, saying their efforts last season were nothing short of remarkable. “The past 12 months have been an extraordinarily busy period of time on Queensland beaches, right up and down the coast, with each region recording a substantial jump across all of our key statistics,” she said. “Beach visitation was up across the state and that will naturally have a number of flow-on impacts on our other key patrol areas including rescues and first aid treatments, as we’ve seen. “It’s worth remembering that over 21 million people flocked to Queensland beaches last season and put their trust in our organisation and members to help keep them safe in the water; it’s a big responsibility and certainly not something to be taken lightly,” she said. A review of data from across the 2018/19 season highlights that males accounted for 58 per cent of rescues while, alarmingly, more than 80 per cent occurred outside of the red and yellow flags.
More than 21 million people visted Queensland beaches in 2018/19, up from 19.7 million people the year before.
SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
“It’s important for people to recognise there’s an element of risk involved in every single rescue our surf lifesavers or lifeguards perform, and that risk is magnified substantially whenever they’re forced to venture outside of the designated patrolling area to help someone in distress.” Off the back of huge crowds, a number of key initiatives were rolled out across the season to help support patrols, boost public safety, increase aquatic protection, and educate beachgoers. In addition to fielding extended patrols and services during peak periods, SLSQ trialled new technology in the form of LifeFi and drones, while also building upon its raft of community awareness initiatives including the Surf Crew program on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Tragically, despite these efforts, there was also a substantial increase in the number of beach-related drowning deaths recorded on Queensland beaches across the past 12 months.
safely. If we can get people to change their attitudes and behaviours towards beach safety, then it will make the job of our patrolling lifesavers and lifeguards that much easier.” This year also marked a notable increase in the age of drowning victims, with a clear shift towards an older demographic. In total, 12 of the 21 victims were males aged over 50. “If you look back over years gone by, it’s been younger males who have been most at-risk on Queensland beaches, but over the past 12 months there’s been a very clear and definitive shift towards an older age group,” Ms Lawlor said. “We’ll use this data to help shape our key drowningprevention and educational strategies moving forward.” 2018/19 – Key statistics: •
Queensland’s army of surf lifesavers and lifeguards combined to perform 716,215 preventative actions, 65,133 first aid treatments, and 3,894 rescues in 2018/19. This represents a two per cent increase in preventative actions, an 85 per cent jump in first aid treatments, and a 35 per cent jump in rescues.
More than 80 per cent of all rescues across the year occurred outside of the red and yellow flags.
At least 26 per cent of swimmers pulled from the water last year were international tourists or recent migrants, with the most common countries of origin being China (193 rescues), Japan (97 rescues), the United Kingdom (82 rescues), and India (81 rescues).
Beach visitation also increased across the year, with roughly 21.56 million people visiting one of SLSQ’s patrolled beaches across the year. This is significantly higher than 19.7 million beachgoers the year before.
Tragically, there were 21 beach-related drowning deaths recorded across Queensland, up from seven the year before.
The vast majority of drowning deaths occurred at unpatrolled beaches and/or outside of designated patrol times. This includes seven drowning deaths recorded at locations more than three kilometres away from the nearest lifesaving or lifeguard patrol.
Males accounted for 18 of the 21 drowning deaths, reaffirming their position as a particularly ‘high risk’ demographic on Queensland beaches.
Historically speaking, young adults have been heavily represented within Queensland’s drowning figures; however, this was not the case in 2018/19, with 57 per cent of all victims aged over 50 years.
In total, there were 21 suspected drownings in 2018/19, up from seven the year before, making it the single worst year on record since SLSQ began tracking coastal data and fatalities. Males accounted for the vast majority of drowning deaths last season, with only three females amongst the 21 victims. In addition, the data highlights that people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds continue to be a particularly ‘high risk’ group on Queensland beaches, with international travellers and migrants accounting for 48 per cent of drowning deaths. Ms Lawlor said the vast majority of the drownings had occurred at unpatrolled beaches and/or outside of designated patrol hours. Seven occurred at locations more than three kilometres from the nearest lifesaving or lifeguard service, and a further 12 occurred less than 500 metres from the nearest patrolled beach. “As far as we’re concerned, even one drowning is one too many, so for 21 people to lose their lives on Queensland beaches last season is nothing short of a tragedy,” Ms Lawlor said. “Our vision as an organisation is ‘Zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters’ and that’s obviously something we’re continuing to work towards and strive for. “One of the most heartbreaking things about the past 12 months is just how many of those drowning deaths could have potentially been avoided if people had taken a little bit of extra time to find and swim at a patrolled location. “We’ll continue to focus on boosting our existing services, but it highlights an ongoing need to engage with, and educate, beachgoers about where and how they can swim
“ O U R V I S I O N I S ‘ Z E R O P R E V E N TA B L E D E AT H S I N Q U E E N S L A N D P U B L I C W AT E R S ’ A N D T H AT ’ S S O M E T H I N G W E ’ R E C O N T I N U I N G TO W O R K TO W A R D S .”
SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
NEW WAVE OF CHANGE FOR SLSQ Innovation, transformation and strategic growth will all be on the agenda for Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) following the appointment of a new chief executive officer to lead the organisation into an exciting new chapter of its development. In July, SLSQ announced the appointment of Dave Whimpey (pictured top right) as CEO following an extensive recruitment and selection process spanning almost six months. His appointment followed the resignation of long-standing CEO John Brennan OAM, who stepped down from the role in February after 25 years of professional employment. Mr Whimpey joins SLSQ with considerable not-for-profit leadership experience, having recently served as CEO of the Brisbane Racing Club for more than five years, where he established a high-performance team culture and created alternative revenue streams to underpin long-term sustainability. With an extensive commercial background, strong business acumen, and 25 years of experience across the public and private sectors, he has previously held senior executive
roles with some of the largest organisations in Australia and across the world including Hilton, Jupiters, KPMG, Tabcorp, and Coles. Outside of his professional career, Mr Whimpey also has a long association with the surf lifesaving movement, having been involved as a volunteer and sponsor for the past decade. “I’ve been involved in the surf lifesaving movement in various capacities as a volunteer for over 10 years now,” he explained. “My wife and I have three daughters and we thought it would be a really good idea and a healthy life choice to get them involved in surf lifesaving as a way to help build and develop their water skills from a young age, particularly with there being so many beaches around us on the Gold Coast. “It was actually my wife who was the driving force, and she decided early that our girls were going to need some skills and awareness to help keep them safe in the surf, particularly as they start getting old enough to go to the beach without us,” he said. With his eldest daughter in Nippers, Mr Wimpey followed a similar path to many surf lifesaving volunteers, initially helping out where needed before finding himself becoming more and more ingrained in club activities. “I got involved in the Nippers program very early on and after a year of being a passive observer, I became an age manager for my eldest daughter. That was 10 years ago, and now my youngest two have come through Nippers as well,” he said. “From there, it wasn’t long before I started getting involved in all of the other aspects of volunteering too, from age manager and general duties at the club to helping out with fundraising and more recently, becoming a sponsor through my previous role at Brisbane Racing Club. “Over the past few years I’ve also personally sponsored North Burleigh SLSC – I saw they were a club that really needed some help, and I decided I could financially contribute and make a difference that way as well.” When the role of CEO came up, he saw it as the perfect opportunity to combine his professional experience and skillset, with a long-term passion for the movement and community service.
“If I had a mantra, it would be renewal, creativity, and innovation.” - Dave Whimpey, Chief Executive Officer “For me personally, I really wanted to do something that focused on giving back to the community. I spent the first 20 years of my career working in ASX-listed companies and the last five or six years I’ve been in not-for-profits,” he said. “I’m really drawn to the idea of helping and supporting the community, so transferring my skills to a not-for-profit was a really big part of the drawcard and one of the main reasons I wanted to come across to SLSQ. “I’ve found that everyone here is really passionate about what they do, and really passionate about surf lifesaving as a whole, and it’s great to be a part of an organisation with such a clear and defined purpose,” he said. It’s been a big 12 months for SLSQ, both on and off the beach. In addition to recording a substantial increase in the number of rescues performed up and down the coast, the organisation has also been undergoing a significant structural and strategic review across its business operations. Mr Whimpey said it was an important process, and one designed to ensure SLSQ remained sustainable, relevant,
and in a position to support Queensland communities for years to come. “We’re currently in a transitional stage at SLSQ, and our Board and Council have been very clear that we want to transform as an organisation,” he said. “That means being transparent, having good corporate governance, and being very efficient and effective in the way we go about things. There’s an opportunity to really transform our organisation, and get our volunteers and paid staff all rallying together to look at the way we do things. “However, transformation doesn’t mean or imply we will be changing our core purpose. We are transforming as a business but, having said that, our purpose will always remain steadfast and that’s to save lives. “If I had a mantra, it would be renewal, creativity, and innovation – renew the way we do things, get a little bit creative along the way, and be innovative through new technology and processes.”
SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
SLSQ FLIES HIGH WITH POLAIR In November 2014, the global spotlight was well and truly shining on Queensland. As the state played host to the G20 World Leaders Summit, some of the most powerful men and women on the planet converged in Brisbane for two days of meetings, including the likes of Barrack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and other international heads of state. Not surprisingly, the security measures in place were unprecedented, with significant police presence in and around Brisbane city to increase protection and minimise the risk of an incident from occurring. These efforts were critically supported from the air, with the Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) two helicopters – POLAIR 1 and 2 – working around the clock to significantly enhance security and safety. Throughout the operation, the two aircrafts combined to fly more than 130 hours, providing vital aerial support
and intelligence to front-line officers on the ground, and reinforcing the crucial role POLAIR continues to play when it comes to preventing and detecting crime from the air. Since first taking flight more than seven years ago, the QPS helicopters have become iconic and regular sights along the south east skyline; however, most people remain unaware of the key role that SLSQ plays behind the scenes to help deliver this vital service to Queensland communities. Back in 2012, following an extensive selection process, SLSQ was successful in its bid to supply helicopter services to the QPS. It was a historic agreement for SLSQ and one that would see the organisation purchase a dedicated helicopter (POLAIR 1) to be based at its Carrara hangar on the Gold Coast for the sole use of police operations. Since then, the partnership has expanded to include a second SLSQ-owned helicopter for aerial policing duties in Brisbane, based at Archerfield Airport (POLAIR 2). POLAIR flies a combination of regular patrols along with proactive and reactive operations each week, with each mission manned by two of QPS’ tactical officers and flown by one of SLSQ’s highly-experienced pilots. One of those responsible for taking charge of the aircraft is the chief pilot of SLSQ’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service, Paul Gibson. Mr Gibson, who brings more than 30 years of aviation experience to the role, said the partnership between SLSQ and the QPS was one born out of mutual objectives. “There are a lot of synergies between SLSQ and the QPS; at the end of the day, we’re both public safety organisations with a clear focus on serving, helping, and protecting Queensland communities, and I think that’s one of one main reasons why our partnership has been so successful,” he said. “SLSQ has a wealth of aviation experience to its name, with the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service having operated in Queensland for almost 45 years, and it’s great that we’ve been able to transfer that knowledge across into a policing environment. “At the end of the day it’s still flying a helicopter, but it’s obviously a different style of flying compared to what we would normally do for beach patrols. You’re still working closely with a team of crewmembers but, instead of
Photo courtesy of Paul Sadler
surf lifesavers and lifeguards, they just happen to be police officers.
“Meanwhile, we also worked to roster and manage additional pilots to ensure we could meet the increased flying demands.”
“We’re lucky to work with an extremely professional, dedicated, and talented team of officers, who are all passionate about protecting and serving this great state of ours.”
Importantly, SLSQ successfully balances its QPS requirements with the patrol responsibilities of its Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service to ensure beach surveillance is maintained across the year, and even expanded upon during the peak holiday periods.
Today the two POLAIR helicopters have amassed more than 12,500 flight hours, covering the equivalent distance of approximately 650 commercial flights from Brisbane to Perth and return. In addition to its regular patrols, the service has been deployed to assist with floods, missing person searches, and other rescue operations. It has also provided high-profile aerial surveillance at a number of key events including the G20 Summit, the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and royal visits. Mr Gibson said there was a tremendous amount of work and planning undertaken by SLSQ behind the scenes to help prepare its team of pilots and the aircraft for the rigours of flying police operations. “The G20 operation, for example, required significant logistical planning and preparation, with SLSQ providing around-the-clock pilot coverage over a period of 10 days leading into the summit, throughout the formalities, and during the demobilisation of security forces,” he said. “We successfully managed and arranged all required maintenance on both aircraft ahead of time to ensure they were ready and able to fly the required amount of hours, which presented us with a number of logistical challenges to overcome.
“The core business of SLSQ is still focused on protecting beachgoers, but our work with POLAIR provides us with an invaluable opportunity to build upon our aviation experience and help deliver safer communities,” Mr Gibson said. “Over the years, we’ve seen POLAIR develop into a critical part of police operations in Queensland, and SLSQ can hold its head high in the role we’ve played to help facilitate that journey.” POLAIR Inspector Daniel Bust said the helicopter service had developed into a vital part of QPS operations. “POLAIR Queensland continues to perform at an exceptional level, setting national operational capability benchmarks and achieving outstanding results and recognition,” Inspector Bust said. “The relationship with the SLSQ pilots, management and maintenance teams is a key component of our success. “We consider these relationships to go beyond a simple contractual arrangement; SLSQ are our partners in providing enhanced service delivery, more effective use of the assets, and most importantly, a capability that ensures the safety of police officers and the reduction of crime within the community,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Paul Sadler
SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
M E M B E R S H I P S O A R S TO NEW HIGHS A concerted focus on recruitment, retention, and long-term sustainability is continuing to pay dividends for Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), with new figures highlighting strong growth across the organisation’s membership base. Collectively, SLSQ’s six branches and 57 clubs encompassed 33,011 members in 2018/19, reflecting an overall annual increase of 2.3 per cent when compared to 32,291 members the season before. Importantly, this continues a recent upwards trend, while marking the first year since 2010/11 that the organisation’s state-wide membership has exceeded 33,000 people. Furthermore, all six of SLSQ’s branches across Queensland individually recorded positive growth within their respective membership totals, highlighting an organisational-wide effort to boost recruitment and retention within all regions of the state. In another positive sign for the future, SLSQ also recorded the highest number of active patrolling members in history, with 9,278 volunteers lining up this season to keep watch over Queensland beaches. This represents an increase of almost three per cent when compared to last year, and approximately 17 per cent growth across the past decade. Meanwhile, the total number of youngsters learning vital skills and awareness through SLSQ’s iconic Nippers program also surged across the past 12 months, jumping three-and-ahalf per cent from 10,797 last year to 11,174 this season.
SLSQ membership development manager Jamie Findlay said the positive growth was a direct result of significant work behind the scenes, coupled with outstanding support from clubs and a firm commitment to ensuring long-term sustainability across the wider surf lifesaving movement. “SLSQ is a volunteer-based organisation and, with that in mind, our members are the single most important asset we have,” he said. “In fact, SLSQ as we know it today is only here because of the passion, dedication, and tireless work of our members over the years – from those early pioneers who had the foresight to set up beach patrols along Queensland’s coastline, through to our members who raise the flags today, and everyone else in the years between. “The benefits of a strong and vibrant membership base obviously flow down through to all levels of our organisation but, just as importantly, it also helps us contribute to healthier and safer communities across Queensland. “Each new lifesaver we recruit and retain helps extend our reach along Queensland’s coastline, so it’s really pleasing to see such strong growth across our membership in recent years,” he said. Mr Findlay further said the recruitment and retention of volunteers across the state would remain a core priority for SLSQ moving forward.
“SLSQ is a volunteer-based organisation and, with that in mind, our members are the single most important asset we have.” −Jamie Findlay, Membership Development Manager “A few years ago we identified a steady, albeit relatively minor, decline in our year-on-year membership figures and it’s something we’ve worked really hard as an organisation to address and reverse,” he said. “The surf lifesaving movement has been around for well over a century and it’s important to recognise the volunteering landscape has grown and evolved significantly during that period of time. “Today we have over 33,000 members across Queensland and they come from all backgrounds, ages, nationalities, and walks of life; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to recruitment and retention, which means we need to be really strategic in terms of how we go about developing our core suite of programs. “The strategies that helped us attract and retain members only 10 to 15 years ago probably aren’t going to work in today’s environment, and that’s a challenge every volunteer organisation in Australia would be facing. “We also need to recognise that our volunteers have different needs, expectations, time pressures, and commitments than they’ve previously had as well, which changes our approach as well.” Importantly, each season SLSQ rolls out a range of key programs and initiatives which specifically focus on engaging with members and developing their skills both on and off the beach. Earlier this year, almost 100 young surf lifesavers were selected to attend SLSQ’s Youth Excellence Program at Lake
Moogerah, providing them with a valuable opportunity to build and refine their skills, while harnessing their involvement within the wider movement. It’s one of several key programs aimed at providing younger members with a clear pathway for progression as they shift from a nipper to a patrolling member, and potentially into a leadership role at a club, branch or state level. In addition, the annual Leadership Excellence Program provides members with another opportunity to build upon their communication, teamwork, and management skills in a bid to prepare them for more senior roles within lifesaving, including club captain and president. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, SLSQ’s highlysuccessful Family Participation Program aims to provide opportunities for parents of existing lifesavers to join a club and get involved in volunteering, be it on the beach or behind the scenes. “The challenge for us these days is to develop a variety of programs that attract, engage, and develop all of our members, regardless of whether they’re a teenager in North Queensland or a single parent on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Findlay said. “It’s great to see our membership figures on the rise, and the work that we’ve been doing when it comes to ongoing member development and sustainability will help ensure that SLSQ is well-positioned to keep building on this growth for years to come.”
SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
LIFESAVERS HIT THE ROAD IN THE NAME OF SAFETY
Some of the state’s most remote, regional, and rural towns became a sea of red and yellow in August, when Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) hit the dirt road as part of this year’s Breaka Beach to Bush. The annual initiative aims to spread the surf safety message far and wide, as experienced lifesavers swap the sandy shores of the coast for the sights and sounds of Queensland’s unique inland communities, visiting regional schools along the way to educate kids about how to protect themselves at the beach.
through a variety of towns as far and wide as Dimbulah, Mount Isa, Clermont, Gladstone, and Saint Gorge. In total, surf lifesavers visited 67 primary schools and directly engaged with more than 11,000 students, providing them with critical beach safety information ahead of the peak summer months. SLSQ community awareness manager Helen Hallett said the program played a key role when it came to educating and upskilling communities across Queensland.
Beach to Bush has been running in Queensland since 1998 and remains one of the largest and most innovative community awareness programs of its kind in Australia, having directly reached and educated almost 300,000 children since its inception.
“Beach to Bush has been running for more than two decades now, and it was initially developed after our national coastal data identified that people who lived more than 50 kilometres from the coast were more at risk of getting into trouble and drowning at the beach,” she said.
This year SLSQ conducted five simultaneous tours across the state, spanning almost 6,800 kilometres, and travelling
“If you’ve grown up on or near the coast, it can be easy to take some of that surf safety knowledge and awareness for
granted – many of us are taught from a young age to swim between the flags and it almost comes as second nature.
tourists, recent migrants, and domestic travellers, to name a few.
“However, it’s important to remember there are many people who live in regional and rural parts of Queensland who might only go to the beach once every couple of years, if that, and there are some children who possibly haven’t even seen the ocean.
“Those programs touch on a broad range of topics and include everything from where to swim safely and what flags to look for, right through to the basics of performing CPR and how to assist someone who gets into trouble while in the water.
“They’re the types of people who won’t be familiar with surf conditions, and who may not fully appreciate or understand some of the potential dangers that can pop up when swimming at the beach. So, for them, even communicating simple messages such as swimming between the flags could prove lifesaving in the right circumstances.”
“We obviously can’t patrol every beach or waterway across Queensland, so we try to give people the knowledge and awareness they need to protect themselves and make smart choices about their own personal safety,” she said.
While the core focus is on surf safety, the skills and awareness taught through Beach to Bush are intentionally designed to be transferable to all types and bodies of water. With that in mind, children learn about surf conditions and how to stay safe at the beach, but they are also taught about ways to mitigate the potential risks of swimming in rivers, creeks, lagoons, lakes, dams and pools. “A lot of the basic principles of water safety are the same, regardless of whether someone’s swimming at the beach or at an inland waterway,” Mrs Hallett said. “It’s all about making smart and educated choices before getting in the water, putting safety first at all times, and taking any necessary precautions to help protect yourself. “We’re hoping these youngsters will take some of the skills and awareness with them for the rest of their lives.” Importantly, the Beach to Bush program is just one of many community awareness initiatives rolled out by SLSQ each year in a bid to upskill Queensland beachgoers and, ultimately, reduce drowning deaths across the state. In the past 12 months alone the organisation has directly engaged with 158,585 people about water safety, providing them with the key skills and awareness to protect themselves at the beach and other aquatic environments. “Community awareness and education remains a key focus area for SLSQ and we see it as a vital component when it comes to breaking the drowning cycle in Queensland,” Mrs Hallett said. “We deliver a wide range of educational programs each year which are specifically tailored around a variety of groups and demographics including school children, international Top image: Bundaberg region. Bottom image: Mount Isa
SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
SAFETY BOOSTED ACROSS THE SUNSHINE COAST Beachgoers are set to benefit from additional lifeguard services on the Sunshine Coast this season, ensuring greater protection and education for locals and tourists alike. In August, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) joined the Sunshine Coast Council to announce additional funding for increased protection and patrol coverage at 11 beaches across the coming year.
Through its professional arm – the Australian Lifeguard Service Queensland (ALSQ) – SLSQ has been tasked with operating extensive and year-round lifeguard patrols on behalf of the Sunshine Coast Council since October 2012. Importantly, this additional funding will allow SLSQ to build upon its key services at popular and high-risk locations, while boosting coastal and public safety. SLSQ chief lifeguard Greg Cahill said the additional services would play a key role in the organisation’s efforts to protect the growing numbers of people who visited Sunshine Coast beaches each year. “The ALSQ is the largest provider of professional lifeguard services in Queensland, with our men and women bringing significant expertise and experience to the beach every time they raise the flags on patrol,” he said. “The Sunshine Coast is obviously home to some of our state’s most popular beaches, and we’re really pleased to continue our work with the regional council to help expand and extend our services at key locations. “Since being awarded the council contract back in 2012, we’ve been able to build and deliver an extensive, widereaching, and fully-integrated lifeguard service across the Sunshine Coast for the benefit of all beachgoers including tourists and locals alike. “We’re really proud and pleased to build on that service delivery, and I thank the Sunshine Coast Council for their continued support of SLSQ and its vision of saving lives.”
The extra funding, valued at more than $230,000, covers a wide range of new and extended services including an additional lifeguard employed over two weeks immediately prior to the Christmas school holidays at Coolum, Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland, Mooloolaba and Kings Beaches. Furthermore, all patrols at Yaroomba and the Boardwalk will now have a second lifeguard stationed onsite, while SLSQ’s service at Discovery Beach will be extended to 365-day coverage. The funding will also allow SLSQ to employ an extra lifeguard from September through to May to help boost existing patrols and services at Marcoola, Discovery, Twin Waters, and Mudjimba Beaches.
In addition to its front-line services on the beach, Mr Cahill said the organisation would continue to support beach safety through innovative trials and other lifesaving solutions. “Over the past few seasons, we’ve tested innovative LifeFi technology to engage with tourists, rolled out the Surf Speak book and app to help communicate with international beachgoers, and implemented mobile emergency response beacons at high-risk locations,” he said. “In addition, SLSQ has also rolled out extended helicopter patrols during peak periods, aligned all patrols with our State Communications and Coordination Centre, and trained up lifeguards to patrol local beaches using cutting-edge drone technology.”
I O R F U E L S W E S T PA C H E L I C O P T E R AHEAD OF SUMMER SLSQ’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service (WLRHS) has received a timely boost ahead of the peak summer months, welcoming IOR on board as an Premium Partner. The agreement will see IOR recognised as the WLRHS’ official fuel supplier, while funds from their support will be invested back into the service and its vital work across Queensland. “IOR has been a supporter of our service for a number of years now, and it’s exciting to welcome them on board in an official capacity. I thank them for their continued support, and I’m looking forward to working with them in the years to come,” WLRHS chief pilot Paul Gibson said. Speaking proudly of the announcement, IOR Managing Director Stewart Morland said the company is excited to fuel SLSQ’s red and yellow heroes in the sky. “At IOR, we never forget where we came from, and the iconic red and yellow colours are known as a symbol of safety and protection across all corners of Queensland. We hope that through our support of WLRHS that we’re helping protect Queenslanders from the bush to the beach,” Mr Morland said.
It is the generous involvement of our partners that enables us to continue to keep our beaches safe. Surf Life Saving Queensland would like to thank these organisations for their ongoing support.
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Surf Life Saving Queensland Surf Rescue House, 18 Manning Street, South Brisbane QLD 4101 PO Box 3747, South Brisbane QLD 4101 +61 7 3846 8000 â€¢ lifesaving.com.au
It continues to be a busy period of time for Queensland's army of surf lifesavers and lifeguards, with the peak summer months just around th...
Published on Oct 18, 2019
It continues to be a busy period of time for Queensland's army of surf lifesavers and lifeguards, with the peak summer months just around th...