Minister for Emergency Services Mark Ryan has reminded Queenslanders and visitors to our Sunshine State to swim between the flags and stay safe on our beaches while meeting with surf lifesavers on the Gold Coast today.
“Our volunteer surf lifesavers do an amazing job in keeping a close eye on our beaches to ensure we can enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful beaches right here in Queensland,” Minister Ryan said.
“The Queensland Government will provide $5.4 million this financial year to Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) in order to keep our beaches safe as well as support the operational of the Surf Life Saving Queensland helicopter.
“But our surf lifesavers also need your help when it comes to safety on our beaches.
“I urge everyone to swim between the red-and-yellow flags as this is the part of the beach being patrolled by lifesavers and has been assessed as the safest place to swim.
“It does not matter how strong of a swimmer you are, swimming between the red-and-yellow flags is the safest option.”
SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan OAM said Queensland’s volunteer surf lifesavers had saved thousands of lives in the past 12 months alone.
“Each and every year, millions of people flock to Queensland’s beautiful beaches and entrust our volunteer surf lifesavers to keep them safe in and around the water,” Mr Brennan said.
“In 2015/16 our 8,000 strong volunteer patrolling members across Queensland combined to perform 2,124 rescues and, this season to date, they’ve already saved a further 331 lives.
“Tragically, despite these efforts, we’re continuing to see people lose their lives on Queensland beaches, including 11 drownings in 2015/16. With that in mind, I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to only ever swim at patrolled locations and between the red and yellow flags.”
“Queensland also has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and the sun can also cause heat-related illnesses,” Minister Ryan said.
“So remember to drink plenty of water while on the beach to stay hydrated and take steps to protect yourself against skin cancer such as applying sunscreen and wearing appropriate clothing.”
For further information on staying safe on Queensland’s beaches visit https://www.qld.gov.au/