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Airport greeting service set to save lives this summer

Surf safety will get off to a flying start these summer holidays, thanks to a new community awareness initiative being rolled out by Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) at the Sunshine Coast Airport.

From Monday, 14 December 2015 through to Friday, 5 February 2016, domestic and international passengers arriving at the airport on weekdays will be greeted by surf lifesavers in full patrol uniform and presented with vital information about where and how to swim safely this summer.

Thousands of tourists, and potential beachgoers, from across Australia and the world are expected to filter through the airport during this time, and SLSQ community awareness manager Helen Hallett said it was a great opportunity to help keep them safe.

“The Sunshine Coast is obviously home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, attracting thousands of visitors from all over Australia and right across the world for that matter,” she said.

“Some of these people will not have been to Queensland before, or even swum at an Australian beach, so it’s a great opportunity for surf lifesavers to engage with them, and provide passengers with some basic information about how to protect themselves and their families when they next visit a beach.”

All passengers arriving at the airport during designated hours will receive a fold-out map listing every patrolled beach on the Sunshine Coast, along with a list of patrol hours and key safety messages including information on rips, beach flags and warning signs.

“Our overarching vision as an organisation is to achieve ‘zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters’ and we see community awareness and public education programs such as this playing a key role in saving lives,” Mrs Hallett said.

“If we can actively encourage the public to make smart and educated choices about their safety before even stepping foot onto a beach, then it makes the job of our patrolling lifesavers and lifeguards that much easier,” she said.

Sunshine Coast Councillor Jason O’Pray said this is an important initiative for a region with more than 100 kilometres of pristine coastline.

“The Sunshine Coast is renowned for its beautiful beaches and our great surf culture. This initiative is a wonderful way to spread the message of surf safety particularly to our visitors,” he said.

“We want our visitors to enjoy a safe time on their holiday by swimming at patrolled beaches and always between the red and yellow flags.

“Council is proud to play a small part in this fantastic surf safety awareness program.”

Surf safety information will also be distributed to more than 450 hotels, motels and accommodation houses across the Sunshine Coast in a bid to further engage with international and domestic tourists this summer.

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