Beach swimmers will benefit from Sunshine Coast lifeguards spending an extra 2050 patrol hours on our beaches in 2015/16.
Some beaches will have lifeguards on patrol earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon and others have been upgraded from one lifeguard on patrol to two.
The increased patrol hours will be available for swimmers at Currimundi, Discovery, Buddina/Kawana, Wurtulla, Bulcock, Twin Waters, Marcoola, North Coolum, Boardwalk, Mudjimba and Yaroomba.
The increase in patrol hours will take the year’s total to 65,800 hours.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said this year's increased hours for swimmers to enjoy the Coast’s patrolled beaches were just one advantage that had been achieved since the transition of the lifeguards from Council to Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) in 2012.
“As we head into another busy season on our beaches, we have seen some major benefits of Council’s partnership with Surf Life Saving Queensland,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This is what we expected would be the case by teaming up with an organisation that deals with beach and surf safety 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
“The integration with SLSQ’s volunteer services has helped service delivery and we now have more hours in the morning and afternoon for beachgoers to enjoy a swim between the flags.
“We have also seen the immense value of having a dedicated rescue helicopter service based on the Sunshine Coast, seven days a week, and the lifeguards are benefitting from access to enhanced training and equipment and professional development.”
Tragically, there were three beach-related drownings on the Sunshine Coast and Noosa from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.
“Sadly all of these drownings occurred either outside of patrol times or away from the red and yellow flags,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“What better evidence do you need to show it is vital that you swim between the flags and obey all lifeguard directions.”
SLSQ president Ralph Devlin said: "Surf Life Saving Queensland is very pleased with our partnership with Sunshine Coast Council to secure beach and public waterway safety for the region.
“It has been a relationship of mutual respect and co-operation.
“I am especially pleased that we have secured better training and better employment pathways for our lifeguards.
“They are a valuable resource for the Sunshine Coast, giving the public an efficient and effective service."
Surf Life Saving Queensland’s 2015-16 volunteer patrol season will be officially launched at Marcoola SLSC today.
Last year, SLSQ’s volunteer surf lifesavers on the Sunshine Coast performed 2432 first aid treatments, 60,387 preventative actions and directly saved 1028 lives through in-water rescues.
“These volunteers perform a hugely valuable service and on behalf of the Sunshine Coast, I thank them for their time and dedication,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Combined with the lifeguard service, we have an outstanding group of people looking after the safety of our Coast residents and our hundreds of thousands of visitors.”