Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service

Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service is one of the oldest community-based helicopter rescue services in the world. The service has been 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.

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service (WLRHS) is our eyes in the sky and allows Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) to patrol a vast area of Queensland’s coastline from Rainbow Beach to Rainbow Bay. The service patrols the South East Queensland coast and carries out beach surveillance, shark warnings, preventative actions, missing person searches and rescues in the water and on the beach.

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service is also used for emergency response, searches and rescues, working in conjunction with emergency service organisations including the Queensland Police Service, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and Queensland Fire & Emergency Services.

SLSQ’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service includes:

  • Eurocopter EC135 – call sign ‘Lifesaver 45’
  • BO 105 Super Five Twin Engine – call sign ‘Lifesaver 46’

The EC135 – ‘Lifesaver 45’ – was gifted to SLSQ by the State Government in 2009 and is based at Carrara to service the Gold Coast region. This helicopter offers greater operational capabilities particularly in assisting other service providers in search and rescue operations.

The BO 105 – ‘Lifesaver 46’ – is based at Caloundra and services the Sunshine Coast, thanks to additional funding from Westpac to operate both aircraft.

Combined, the bases are resourced by eight pilots, 14 aircrew, 22 rescue crew, with four full-time crew and 26 volunteer surf lifesavers.

Both helicopters patrol every weekend and during peak periods, including school holidays. They are also available to be tasked by emergency service organisations 7 days a week.

Key roles performed include:

  • Sea-based search and rescue, delivered through coastal surveillance patrols
  • Land search and rescue
  • Fire service support
  • Winch rescues and Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR) tasks
  • Disaster response deployment when required

As with each of the 13 Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter bases across Australia, the Queensland services out of the Caloundra and Carrara bases are a free community service; no one has ever been charged to be rescued.

Community demonstrations, in which volunteers donate their time, assist to fundraise for rescue equipment for both Queensland operations.

Westpac has supported the Queensland Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service since its inception in 1976.


For more information on the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service, visit westpacheliqld.com.au



Support the WLRHS with Everyday Hero

Everyday Hero is an online fundraising platform, giving you the ability to build your own supporter page to help the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service ensure Queensland beaches remain some of the safest in the world.

Once you’ve set up your supporter page and selected WLRHS as your chosen charity, you can share the link with your friends, family and colleagues and ask them to make a donation in recognition of your involvement in any number of fundraising events, including fun runs, charity rides, or other group events.

Need some inspiration? Check out these fundraising tips for Everyday Hero.