Queenslanders Urged To ‘Be A Lifesaver’ This Long Weekend

January 24, 2024

Queensland’s sporting stars have joined forces today to support Surf Life Saving Queensland to encourage all beachgoers this long weekend to ‘Be a Lifesaver’, an act which could potentially save yours or a mate’s life.

Surf lifesavers are urging beachgoers to make water safety a priority, not just for individuals, but their friends and families.

Statistics show the public are two times more likely to be involved in a rescue or a drowning incident when visiting a beach over a long weekend and/or public holiday period.

The ‘Be a Lifesaver’ campaign is calling for all beach goers to make safety top of mind and to follow lifesavers advice, because it could save your life.

Australian Diamonds player and SLSQ ambassador, Gretel Bueta, who is also a mother of two young boys urged parents to lead by example this public holiday long weekend.

“With little ones it’s super important to teach from a young age the importance of only swimming between the red and yellow flags,” said Bueta.

“My boys love being in the surf but knowing how quickly conditions can change, supervision is the key to a safe trip to the beach.”

Gold Coast Suns AFL player, Caleb Graham called out younger people to keep watch on their mates and call out risky behaviour.

“It’s very important to be safe, long weekends are some of the busiest times at the beach.

“Lots of people like to spend their time there, it’s a lot of fun, but just make sure you swim between the red and yellow flags and look out for your mates,” he said.

SLSQ Regional Manager, Nathan Fife pleaded with the public to follow advice of surf lifesavers and lifeguards, with 100% of drownings across Queensland last year occurring outside of the patrolled flags, sometimes as little as 200 metres from the patrolled location.

“The Australia Day long weekend is very busy at our beaches and for our lifesavers and lifeguards. Unfortunately we do see an increased number of drownings and people experiencing difficulty and needing to be rescued, so our message is, be safe at the beach.

“Our lifesavers and lifeguards do a great job protecting everyone along the coast in Queensland, but we need people to listen to what they say and only swim at those patrolled beaches and in between the red and yellow flags.

“Unfortunately we saw a number of drownings last year and one drowning is one drowning too many for Surf Life Saving Queensland.

“Surf Lifesavers performed over 3000 rescues outside of the patrolled areas last year, and that is way too many rescues. So please, if you are visiting the beach this long weekend, enjoy it, be safe and swim between the red and yellow flags.

“If the beaches are closed, they’re closed for a reason. Listen to our lifesavers and lifeguards, following the safety signs and do the right thing.

“Our lifesavers and lifeguards get down to the beach early and set the flags up out of the way of rips, but unfortunately conditions do change. We want people to stay in close, know their depth and swim on patrolled beaches,” he said.


Coastal Safety Messages

● Swim only at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags

● Don’t take risks and look out for mates, friends and family

● Always supervise children in, on and around water

● Wear a lifejacket when boating, rock fishing or paddling

● Swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags

● Avoid alcohol and drugs around water

● Check the conditions, including weather forecasts


Coastal Safety Statistics Click here to download the 2023 Coast Safe Report. 2023 Coast Safe Report Key Findings

● During 2022/23 season, SLSQ patrols (including lifeguards and lifesavers) performed 3,276 rescues, 630,749 preventative actions and 18,868 first aid treatments.

● 768 of those rescues were for children under 12 years of age, of which 75% took place outside the flags.

● There were 14 beach-related drowning deaths in Queensland – up by one from 2021/22

● Every beach-related drowning deaths occurred outside of flagged areas, with four occurring less than 200m from the flags

● Australians made up the majority of beach-related drownings – 64%

● 57% of victims aged between 20 and 49 years