Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has achieved a milestone, with new figures revealing they have now saved more than 125,000 lives on Queensland beaches.
In 2013/14 SLSQ’s lifeguards and volunteer surf lifesavers rescued 3,536 swimmers across the state, taking the total number of lives directly saved on Queensland beaches since 1930 to 127,763.
Reflecting on the milestone, SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill paid tribute to the efforts of lifesavers and lifeguards alike.
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“Our lifesavers and lifeguards do a tremendous job protecting and safeguarding beachgoers all over Queensland, and this is a testament to their efforts,” he said.
“More than 125,000 lives have been saved thanks to the training and dedication of our members, and that’s physical rescues only. It doesn’t take into account any of our preventative actions or the 300,000-odd people that we reach each and every year through educational initiatives.
“It’s all part of the job, but when you sit back and reflect on the weight of those numbers you begin to realise what an incredible achievement it really is. Those people could fill Suncorp Stadium two-and-a-half times over and it’s really rewarding to know they’ve all been given a second chance in life,” he said.
Despite the efforts of surf lifesavers, there were seven preventable beach-related drownings across Queensland in 2013/14.
Mr Hill said this was seven too many.
“Our entire organisation, from the boardroom right down to the volunteers and nippers on the beach, is focused on one thing and one thing only – saving lives,” he said.
“This milestone is a wonderful achievement, but we certainly won’t be resting on our laurels. Moving forward we are more committed than ever to extending our work on the beach, in the air and out in the community to break the drowning cycle and protect beachgoers across Queensland.
“Our overarching goal as an organisation is to deliver ‘zero preventable deaths in Queensland waters’ and that’s exactly what we’re continuing to strive towards,” Mr Hill said.
In 2013/14 SLSQ’s volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards combined to perform 12,990 first aid treatments, 5,639 marine stinger treatments, 494,710 preventative actions and, most importantly, saved 3,536 lives in the process.