Lifeguards, Education, Media Release, Beach Conditions, Members, Safety

It's Time For the Red and Yellow To Fly Again

Friday, 16 September 2022

As volunteer lifesavers once again return to the beach this patrolling season, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) are reminding beachgoers to only swim at patrolled beaches and always between the red and yellow flags.

The reminder comes after twelve of the thirteen people who tragically drowned at a Queensland beach during the 2021/22 patrol season were swimming outside of a patrolled area or time.

SLSQ lifesavers and lifeguards performed 3,101 rescues, with 723 of them being children under the age of twelve years.

These statistics were revealed in SLSQ’s 2022 Coast Safe Report, which was released today to coincide with the launch of the 2022/23 volunteer patrol season.

SLSQ produce the Coast Safe Report every year to identify trends, risks and overrepresented demographics in rescues and beach-related drownings which SLSQ can then implement programs and initiatives to address – with the ultimate goal to reduce drowning-related deaths and help achieve SLSQs vision of ‘Zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters.’

As seen in previous years, males continue to be overrepresented in beach-related drownings with 77 percent of victims being male. There is also continued concern around the 20 to 49 years age demographic with them making up 54 percent of victim’s last season.

With the return of international visitors to our shores, SLSQ will ramp-up engagement with tourism operators and explore new ways to communicate surf safety messages with international tourists while continuing to connect with Australian beachgoers who last year made up the majority of beach-related drownings.

At the launch of the new patrolling season, SLSQ CEO Dave Whimpey took the opportunity to thank the dedicated lifesavers and lifeguards who put their life on the line to keep Queenslanders and visitors safe.

“The 2022 Coast Safe Report shows that 3,101 beachgoers were able to return home to their loved ones thanks to the brave actions of our lifesavers and lifeguards,” said Mr Whimpey.

“Although there has been a decrease in beach-related drowning deaths from the previous year, we strongly believe that even one drowning death is one too many, and we want to remind everyone to only swim at patrolled beaches.

“The ocean is unpredictable and while our lifesavers do a remarkable job to keep people safe, we also need beachgoers to understand the inherent risks and listen to our lifesavers.”

2022 Coast Safe Report Key Findings:

• During 2021/22 SLSQ patrols (including lifeguards and lifesavers) rescued 3,101 people in distress, performed 588,993 preventative actions and 32,996 first aid treatments.
• 723 of those rescues were for children under 12 years of age – most either swimming or bodyboarding – and 83% outside the flags.
• There were 13 beach-related drowning deaths in Queensland – which is a 32% decrease on the previous year
• 12 of the 13 beach-related drowning deaths occurred outside of flagged areas, with six of them taking place less than 200 metres from the flags
• Australians made up the majority of beach-related drownings – 62%
• 54% of victims aged between 20 and 49 years
• 89% of rescues performed by SLSQ patrols were outside the flags, with 86% of those people being rescued Australian
• 55% of the year’s rescues were performed in December and January
• 77% of the victims were male

The full 2022 Coast Safe Report can be found here.

From tomorrow SLSQ volunteer surf lifesavers will patrol 58 beaches across the Queensland

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