Beach patrols ramp up ahead of busy summer period
AN EXTRA sets of skilled eyes will begin patrolling Sunshine Coast beaches from tomorrow until January 28 next year.
From December 1, the first day of summer, another lifeguard will be added to each shift at Alexandra Headland, Coolum main beach, Kings Beach, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba main beach.
Sunshine Coast councillor Jason O'Pray said the council allocated an extra $236,000 to Surf Life Saving Queensland in the 2019-20 budget to support the extra services.
He said it was a recommendation endorsed by the council in the Sunshine Coast Lifeguard Services Plan 2018-2022, and meant the council wwas investing $4.84 million in lifeguard services.
"This increased resourcing strengthens coverage across our peak visitation period, not just the Queensland school holiday dates," Cr O'Pray said.
"A swim at the beach is one of the simplest pleasures in life and these additional services and extra lifeguards will help ensure both residents and tourists are safe in the water."
The Australian Lifeguard Service Queensland employs 29 full-time and part-time lifeguards, three supervisors and 80 casual lifeguards on the Sunshine Coast who are dedicated to saving lives across 20 beaches.
Out of the eight million visitors to patrolled arenas on the Coast last year, lifeguards performed 200,429 preventive actions, administered 15,045 first aid treatments and saved the lives of 436 people through in-water rescues - both shallow and deep water rescues.
Chief lifeguard Greg Cahill said it was a lifesaving mantra to create a proactive lifeguard service to protect beachgoers.
"It's very important that we invest in this expansion of services and a co-operation to make sure those beaches are safe," he said.
"The council has been very responsible to make sure that the services are expanding with the growth of the community so that we can continue to prevent deaths and tragedies into the future."
He said an extra set of eyes made a huge difference to lessening the number of drownings and near-drownings experienced.
Mr Cahill said the Sunshine Coast experienced three drownings last year, and 21 drownings on the Queensland coast, that were all outside the flagged areas.
"The message is always swim between the flagged areas.
"If there is no flag, no swim."
Cr O'Pray said while they were doing a lot of work to prevent beach tragedies, people still needed to play their part.