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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Mark Ryan

    Volunteer lifesavers return to the beach as patrol season kicks off

    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Mark Ryan

    Wednesday, September 13, 2017

    Volunteer lifesavers return to the beach as patrol season kicks off

    Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan joined Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) to raise the red and yellow flags again as patrol season officially kicks off for the year.

    Minister Ryan said the season launch will see lifesavers across Bundaberg and the broader Wide Bay region watch over beachgoers every weekend and public holiday through to May 2018.

    “It’s great to see how SLSQ members are so passionate about water safety and proactive in leading the way in advocacy and community leadership programs, striving to make our beaches and public waterways safe and healthy for everyone,” Minister Ryan said.

    “SLSQ is one of the largest volunteer-based community organisations in Australia, with more than 30,000 members in 58 clubs and six branches in Queensland alone.

    “Recently, the Palaszczuk Government announced a $17 million funding package for SLSQ, following the renewal of a Service Agreement between Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and SLSQ. “The renewed Service Agreement is an important step in securing essential services to ensure the safety of our beautiful beachside communities for residents and holidaymakers alike, as well as safeguarding the organisation’s sustainability into the future.”

    Last season proved to be a busy one across the Wide Bay Capricorn region, with lifesavers from Yeppoon down to Hervey Bay protecting more than 160,385 people. During this time they combined to perform 7,507 preventative actions to safeguard swimmers, treated 557 first aid treatments, and directly saved the lives of 26 beachgoers via in-water rescues.

    Most importantly, their collective efforts ensured there were zero drownings recorded on beaches across the Wide Bay and Capricorn regions.

    SLSQ regional operations manager Craig Holden welcomed volunteers back to the beach, and reminded all beachgoers to protect themselves and swim between the flags this season.

    “With the weather already warming up and school holidays about to kick off, we’re expecting solid crowds over the next few weeks and months and, with that in mind, it’s really important that people are looking out for each other and putting safety first at all times,” Mr Holden said.

    “The best way to protect yourself at the beach is to only swim at patrolled locations and only between the red and yellow flags.

    “Each season, our volunteer surf lifesavers selflessly dedicate countless hours of their own time to protect and watch over thousands of people, and I’d like to welcome them back to the beach for another season of patrols.”

    Mr Holden also warned visitors to Fraser Island to exercise caution over summer, with at least ten people developing Irukandji syndrome after receiving stings in the water last December and January.

    While it remains unconfirmed exactly what type of marine stinger was involved in those incidents, Mr Holden said it was important for visitors to remain vigilant about their safety.

    2015/16 Season statistics – Wide Bay Capricorn Branch

    Club

    Beach attendance

    First Aid

    Preventative actions

    Rescues

    Yeppoon

    16912

    53

    1947

    0

    Emu Park

    17587

    32

    207

    5

    Tannum Sands

    22459

    27

    159

    7

    Agnes Water

    -

    -

    -

    1

    Moore Park

    10575

    153

    897

    0

    Bundaberg

    28141

    188

    2834

    6

    Elliott Heads

    13491

    60

    1143

    6

    Hervey Bay

    51220

    44

    320

    1

    TOTAL

    160,385

    557

    7507

    26

     

    ENDS

     

    Media contacts:

    Minister Ryan’s office:                    07 3035 8300

    SLSQ’s Media Unit on                     0419 201 246