Vital partnership ‘ensures more lives are saved’

For the millions of residents and visitors who’ll visit Sunshine Coast beaches this summer and beyond, their safety is in the best of hands.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said a new agreement between Council and Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) would ensure highly skilled professional lifeguards continued to patrol popular beaches for at least the next five years.

“Sunshine Coast Council has signed off on a new five-year regional Lifeguard Service contract with Surf Life Saving Queensland,’’ Mayor Jamieson said

“This is a substantial arrangement which will see council inject just under $5.5 million per year into lifeguard services to keep residents and visitors to our region safe at the beach.

“Our world-renowned beaches are one of the most popular drawcards in our region, which reinforces why it is so important for council to support the services provided by our lifeguards, so everyone can enjoy a safe beach experience.”

Professional lifeguards patrol major beach locations Monday to Friday and a number of other beaches on weekends, throughout the year. To check local patrol times head to www.beachsafe.org.au and search for your favourite beach.

These services are also supported by an extensive network of volunteer surf lifesavers who patrol on weekends and public holidays during the surf lifesaving season, which runs from the September school holidays to the first weekend in May, with extended hours through the busy Christmas period.  

Over the past 12 months, more than seven million people visited Sunshine Coast beaches and lifeguards performed 849 rescues and more than 8,000 first-aid actions.

The professional lifeguard service, operated by SLSQ on behalf of council, manages foreshore and ocean activities at 22 coastal locations year-round across the Sunshine Coast, including the Maroochy River mouth and Kings Beach Pool.

The new agreement enables SLSQ to employ 16 full-time lifeguards, 16 part-time lifeguards and maintain a casual pool of approximately 50 lifeguards during peak season.

It provides for approximately 93,000 lifeguard patrol hours per year across 22 Sunshine Coast beaches from Coolum North to Golden Beach, as well as equipment and vehicle costs.

Surf Life Saving Queensland Sunshine Coast Regional Operations Manager Aaron Purchase said council’s continued support for lifeguard services across the Sunshine Coast would help to ensure more lives were saved on local beaches.

“Surf Live Saving Queensland provides professional lifeguard services for 17 other Queensland councils and we’re very proud to continue our strong and successful partnership with Sunshine Coast Council,” Mr Purchase said.

“We equip, develop, empower and support our staff to deliver vital aquatic rescue and safety services across Queensland, including the Sunshine Coast, with the ultimate goal of zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters.

“Our lifeguard services on the Sunshine Coast are bolstered by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service and Rescue Drone Program, roving jet ski patrols, mobile and fixed emergency response beacons, coastal surveillance cameras, Lifesaving Incident Management State Operational Console and 24 hours response call out teams.

“We’re expecting beaches to be absolutely packed this summer, so please help yourself, and us, by swimming only between the red and yellow flags and following the advice of lifeguards and lifesavers.”

Council is also working with local Surf Life Saving Clubs and the Compass Institute to make Sunshine Coast beaches more accessible and inclusive.

Beach matting, wheelchairs and life jackets are available to use at no charge. For more information, please visit council’s website sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au and search for “accessible beach program”.

Sunshine Coast professional Lifeguard-patrolled* areas include:

LevelPatrolledAreas
Level 1 – Major locationAll year.Kings Beach, Dicky Beach, Mooloolaba Main and Spit, Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore, Twin Waters, Mudjimba, Discovery Beach and Coolum
Level 2 – Seasonal serviceSeven days a week between September holidays to May, plus weekends, school and public holidays during winter.Bulcock, Marcoola, Buddina/Kawana, Coolum North
Level 3 – Weekend / holiday serviceWeekends, school and public holidays all year.Currimundi
Level 4 – Lower seasonal serviceWeekends, school and public holidays from September to May.  Kings Beach Pool, Boardwalk, Bokarina and Wurtulla
Level 5 – Summer holiday service onlySchool holidays between September to May.Golden Beach, Maroochy River Mouth and Yaroomba.

* Lifeguards are paid professionals who patrol beaches all year round. (https://lifesaving.com.au/about/what-we-do/lifesavers-lifeguards.

Lifesavers are members of the community who, through an affiliated SLSQ community-based club, volunteer their time to patrol Queensland beaches and waterways on weekends during the season).

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