Media Release

SLSQ Welcomes Iconic ‘Rubber Ducky’ to the Family

Friday, 1 July 2022

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is expanding our lifesaving capability by further investing in vital lifesaving equipment.

SLSQ is committed to protecting Queensland beachgoers and the recent acquisition of Thundercat Inflatables will help ensure the safety of the Queensland bathing public at patrolled beaches.

Thundercat Inflatables has been in operation since 1996 and been servicing Australian surf clubs ever since. SLSQ looks forward to continuing the operation and building on their successful reputation.

Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs) are one of the most used rescue equipment by our Queensland lifesavers because they are fast, effective and reliable in rescue situations.

Queensland lifesavers performed 141 rescues last season using IRBs. That means 141 people were able to return home safely to their families because of our volunteer lifesavers and IRBs.

Our lifesavers volunteer their time and dedicate countless hours to serving the Queensland community and visitors, and now this new investment will ensure they have greater access to world-class lifesaving rescue equipment.

The SLSQ Board of Directors is committed to providing our lifesavers with world-class lifesaving equipment and making the investments needed to build a sustainable and efficient organisation.

“The Board is focused on leading innovation to save lives on Aussie beaches. This has not only manifested in our investment in Drone technology through ‘Little Ripper’, the designing of modern clubs through our Facilities Committee and the use of technology to modernise competition, but now we have integrated IRB manufacturing, ” said SLSQ President Mark Fife.

“SLSQ is excited for the future and is proud to be investing in the best lifesaving equipment possible so we can keep all Australian beachgoers safe.”

SLSQ CEO Mr Dave Whimpey is excited for the opportunities this acquisition will bring for SLSQ and our 38,000 volunteer lifesavers.

“There is no doubt COVID has impacted our lives in every way, particularly when is comes to sovereign manufacturing capability and supply chains. The acquisition of Thundercat Inflatables by SLSQ will ensure we can have this vital rescue equipment manufactured in Australia and in the hands of our lifesavers as soon as possible,” said Mr Whimpey.

“Surf Life Saving Clubs are currently having to wait almost two years for IRB orders to be fulfilled however by bringing Thundercat into the SLSQ family, we can shorten these waiting times and ensure lifesaving equipment is where it needs to be so we can keep saving lives.

“Our organisation sets a high standard for our lifesaving equipment, and directly overseeing the leading Australian IRB manufacturer will ensure the equipment is fit for purpose and always meets our high standards.

“To ensure we maintain the high quality and exceptional standards, Rob and all current staff will continue in the business, with Rob agreeing to lead the business for two more years to assist with the transition.”

Rob Thomas founded Thundercat Inflatables and has been the go-to boat manufacturer for decades.

“I’m proud of the boat I designed and created, and I look forward to SLSQ continuing to build these boats in Australia for the benefit of the dedicated lifesavers and the beachgoers they protect,” said Mr Rob Thomas.

Details of the acquisition will remain commercial-in-confidence however SLSQ is excited to engage with all stakeholders to highlight the benefits of this investment.

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