Beach safety services on the Gold Coast will be increased to unprecedented levels ahead of the Commonwealth Games, as surf lifesavers and lifeguards prepare for a significant influx in tourist numbers.
Record crowds are expected to descend on local beaches in the coming weeks and authorities aren’t taking any chances, with a range of additional and extended services set to be introduced in time for the Games.
Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) will be rolling out additional Jet Ski patrols, from 6:00am-6:00pm, at high-risk and unpatrolled stretches of coastline from this weekend, while the Westpac Helicopter will also perform additional daily flights.
All surf clubs from Southport to Burleigh, and Kirra to Rainbow Bay, will extend patrol hours to 6:00am-6:00pm on weekends, with SLSQ also boosting its manpower at both Tallebudgera Creek and Southport Broadwater, and extending its dusk patrol service at Surfers Paradise.
SLSQ will continue its dawn patrols from 4:00am-8:00am, with 24-hour emergency response teams on-call around the clock.
SLSQ Gold Coast lifesaving coordinator Nathan Fife said the organisation was bracing for big crowds of beachgoers.
“We’re used to seeing large crowds on the Gold Coast, but this is a completely new scenario for us; we’ve never experienced an event of this magnitude before and our members will definitely be on increased alert leading into, and during, the Games,” he said.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of hard work and planning behind the scenes to make sure that we have the services in place to play our part when it comes to protecting beachgoers.”
These extended and additional services have been made possible due to a contribution in funding by the Queensland State Government and the Gold Coast City Council. This additional funding has enabled beach safety messaging through advertising in highly visible public locations throughout the Commonwealth Games.
Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones welcomed Surf Life Saving Queensland’s announcement and said safety was key in all preparations for the Games.
“The Commonwealth Games gives us a great opportunity to showcase the best parts of the Gold Coast to the world,” she said.
“The beaches of the Coast are iconic and we want as many visitors as possible to enjoy these natural assets while they’re here in Queensland.
“But it’s important that we take care of our visitors. That’s why I’d like to thank the staff and volunteers at Surf Life Saving Queensland for their efforts to make sure things go smoothly during the Games.”
Surf lifesavers and lifeguards are urging everyone heading to the beach over the next few weeks to exercise caution in the water, and only swim at patrolled locations during designated patrol times.