about slsq

Operations Support

Our operations and support services extend our reach far beyond the red and yellow flags.

At 6:40am on 27 October 2009 a boat broke down on the Gold Coast Seaway. Just as another boat came to assist, both vessels were thrown against the rocks and all five fishermen involved were tossed overboard. While two managed to desperately clamber to safety, three were left stranded in the water with one caught in a crevice on the rocks. An SLSQ early morning Jet Ski patrol spotted the men in trouble and immediately came to their aid. The man on the rocks, while unable to be removed by boat or ski, was winched to safety by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.When it is a case of life or death, time matters. Our lifesavers and lifeguards use a network of support services, including helicopters, jet rescue boats, off shore rescue boats and rescue water crafts to save lives.

Across Queensland lifesavers and lifeguards on the beach are supported by the Lifesaving Operations Support. These services are critical to our operation, patrolling dangerous and unpatrolled areas and helping guide people back into the flagged areas.

In Queensland, Operations Support services include:

  • Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service
  • Rescue Water Crafts
  • Jet Rescue Boats
  • Offshore Rescue Boats;
  • SurfCom; and
  • Duty Officers

Importantly Surf Life Saving Operations Support services have become a crucial development in surf rescue. The specialist skills set and rapid motorised response units, which are on call 24 hours a day, provide yet another layer of support in keeping our beaches and aquatic environment safe.

Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service

Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service is one of the oldest community-based helicopter rescue services in the world, operating across South-East Queensland since 1976. With a highly-trained team of skilled men and women, the service exists for one purpose – to save lives.

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Tying our network together are the state-of-the-art Rescue Communication Centres (known as SurfCom). The SurfCom centres on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts are the central hub of intelligence for our lifesaving patrols. Lifesavers in SurfCom coordinate patrols, task emergency services, and track what is happening on our expansive coastline using cutting edge technology including GPS tracking systems for all lifesaving craft, UHF and VHF radio frequencies, voice recognition data recording, emergency beacons and surf safety camera surveillance system.

Offshore Rescue Boats

Offshore Rescue Boats (ORBs) are fully kitted-out emergency response vessels, carrying state-of-the-art rescue, lifesaving and medical equipment. Unlike the majority of other rescue crafts, their speciality is search and rescue, with a strong emphasis on first aid and basic medical response and assistance.

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Emergency Response Groups

SLSQ’s Emergency Response Groups are designed to be an after-hours callout service to complement and support emergency services through our skills and equipment during times of need. In 2009 SLSQ signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Queensland Government which can now see volunteer surf lifesavers tasked to assist with natural disasters, emergency situations and various other after-hours callouts.

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Brisbane Floods

SLSQ’s diverse Emergency Response Groups proved crucial during Queensland’s devastating floods in January 2011, when SLSQ was tasked by EMQ to assist with emergency response and evacuations across South-East Queensland.

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Rescue Water Crafts

More commonly referred to as jet skis, Rescue Water Crafts (RWCs) have proven to be one of the most valuable pieces of rescue equipment used in patrol operations on our state’s beaches.

On the water, RWCs play a vital role in our lifesaving services, patrolling long stretches of coastline to help keep beach users safe, both in and out of the red and yellow flagged areas.

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Coastal Coms

In 2010 Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) introduced advanced camera technology at selected beaches across Queensland to provide additional surveillance and an extra set of eyes at identified ‘black-spots’ along the coastline.



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Coastal Management

As the peak advisory body on beach and water safety, Surf Life Saving Queensland conducts coastal risk and safety audits at various points along the Queensland coastline to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities for all beachgoers.

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