QUEENSLAND’S volunteer surf lifesavers rescued more than 2,100 people from treacherous conditions in the sea last year, and now the red and yellow army is asking for a helping hand of its own.
The annual Surf Safe Appeal kicks off today, with thousands of surf lifesavers to go doorknocking and brandishing their collection tins for two weeks to raise vital funds.
Now in its 11th year, the Surf Safe Appeal is one of SLSQ’s largest fundraising initiatives, with all money raised going straight back into surf life saving clubs and protecting beachgoers across the state.
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SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan urged all Queenslanders to dig deep this year, saying the Appeal was pivotal in ensuring that volunteer surf lifesavers have the resources and training to continue safeguarding our state’s beaches and protecting swimmers.
“A lot of people tend to forget that SLSQ is actually a charity organisation, which relies heavily on the generosity of the community to ensure that we can continue to deliver the highest level of beach safety,” he said.
“When you go to the beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, you can always feel reassured that our trained lifeguards and lifesavers are there to protect and watch over you, but now they’re asking for your help.
“We realise that times are tough for many Queenslanders, but any donation – no matter how big or small – can go a long way towards helping our cause and, quite literally, saving lives on our beaches.”
Last year Queensland’s surf lifesavers volunteered more than 350,000 hours to patrol beaches and protect swimmers. During this time they performed 118,786 preventative actions, 3,373 first aid treatments and, most importantly, saved some 2,137 lives in the process.
Away from the red and yellow flags, SLSQ’s surf lifesavers are just as active, educating more than 300,000 people each and every year about beach safety through a variety of educational and community awareness programs.
“Since 1930, volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards have saved a staggering 127,763 lives across Queensland – that’s an overwhelming number of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who were given a second chance in life thanks to the training and dedication of our members,” Mr Brennan said.
All funds raised throughout the Appeal will be reinvested back into funding vital lifesaving services in Queensland.
“To effectively set up a beach patrol, a Surf Life Saving Club must be provided with more than $60,000 worth of equipment, including inflatable rescue boats, surf rescue boards, rescue tubes and defibrillators,” Mr Brennan said.
“Along with the cost associated in establishing a beach patrol, it costs $10,000 a year to maintain an active patrol and $850 to train a young lifesaver.”
“By donating, the community is effectively ensuring our volunteers have the right tools and training to do their job, which is to save lives.”
Surf lifesavers will be fundraising for the Surf Safe Appeal from Monday 1 September to Sunday 14 September. Donations can be made by calling 1800 642 925 or online at surfsafeappeal.com.au.