Gold Coasters are being reminded not to get complacent at our beaches, as the volunteer patrol season gets underway from today.
A new report shows there were over 2,500 rescues across Queensland last summer, including 399 on the Gold Coast.
Tragically, eleven beach drowned during the last patrol season.
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It’s not just tourists that are at risk at the beach, with the report showing Australian residents represent 45 percent of the overall drowning tally.
89 percent of rescues took place outside the red and yellow flags, with 80 percent of those rescued being Australian residents.
Men over the age of 50 have again been identified as an at-risk demographic, with 64 percent of drowning victims in that category.
It comes as SLSQ volunteer surf lifesavers prepare to patrol 57 beaches across the Queensland coastline from tomorrow, with 30 additional lifeguard services provided.
Surf Life Saving Queensland CEO Dave Whimpey says the report should serve as an important reminder to all beachgoers.
“The ocean does not discriminate, alarmingly it is Australians who are getting into the most trouble at our beaches.
“As Queenslanders and Australians, we think we know the ocean best but the safest place for anyone to swim and enjoy our beautiful beaches is between the red and yellow flags at patrolled beaches.
“We are expecting our beaches to be absolutely packed this summer, so please help us by following surf lifesavers and lifeguards’ safety advice,” Whimpey said.
2020 Coast Safe Report Key Findings:
• During 2019/20 SLSQ patrols (including lifeguards and lifesavers) directly rescued 2,555 swimmers in distress, performed 660,015 preventative actions and 48,688 first aid treatments.
• 11 drowning deaths on Queensland beaches – which is a 52% decrease on the previous year
• 45% of the drowning victims were Australian residents
• 89% of rescues performed by SLSQ patrols were outside the flags, with 80% of those people being rescued Australian
• 57% of the year’s rescues were performed in December and January
• Cause of rescue: Tidal currents 38%, rips 38%, poor swimming ability 7% and other factors 17%
• 73% of the total drowning victims were male
• 64% of the total drowning victims were over the age of 50