- SLSQ launches new safety campaign in time for Australia Day long weekend
- Calls for swimming between the flags to become a habit, like wearing a seatbelt
- Encourages beachgoers to listen to their loved ones and remain in flagged areas
Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has launched a new safety campaign ahead of Australia Day, urging beachgoers to consider the risk involved by not swimming between the red and yellow flags.
It comes as lifesavers and lifeguards brace for record crowds this long weekend, with more than half-a-million beachgoers expected to flock to Queensland’s coastline over the coming three days.
The new campaign, released today, depicts a young couple’s trip to the beach and highlights how a simple error in judgement can have deadly consequences.
SLSQ Chief Executive Officer John Brennan said the campaign highlighted the need for beach safety to be made a priority, in much the same way road safety was considered essential.
“Whether it’s through complacency, bravado, or simple over-confidence, we’ve seen far too many people risk their lives this summer by swimming outside of the flags or at unpatrolled locations and tragically, not everyone has made it home safely,” he said.
“You wouldn’t get in a car and not buckle your seatbelt, so why risk your life by going to the beach and not swimming between the flags?
“Everyone, from children to the elderly, understand and appreciate the importance of road safety and wearing a seatbelt. We want beach safety, and the act of swimming between the red and yellow flags, to become a habit also.”
Mr Brennan said the campaign featured a fit, young male whose potentially life-altering decision to swim in an unpatrolled area is juxtaposed with a scene of his partner encouraging him to swim between the flags.
“The use of a male drowning victim was a strategic one as 13 of the 15* beach-related drownings this season have been male,” he said.
“This season has proven that it doesn’t matter what gender, age or nationality you are, or your level of fitness, by swimming at an unpatrolled beach, you are putting your life in danger.
“We are encouraging all beachgoers to listen to their loved ones and only swim between the red and yellow flags. Everyone can and should play a role in helping communicate the message to prevent further drownings from occurring.”
Mr Brennan said even one life lost was too many.
“The time for complacency has to end now. Fifteen lives have been lost and hundreds more have been impacted, as family and friends face the reality of life without their loved ones,” he said.
“I thank the Queensland Government for their continued support as we embark on new measures to convey the importance of beach safety.”
Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said the Palaszczuk Government was proud to support Surf Life Saving Queensland’s new campaign.
“The campaign highlights the significance of swimming between the flags through a comparison which will hopefully resonate with the community and encourage people to take beach safety more seriously,” Minister Crawford said.
“People need to be aware that fatalities can and do occur along Queensland’s coastline if they aren’t making safety a priority.
“A trip to the beach is a much-loved activity for many Queenslanders. Don’t let it turn into tragedy. We want you to enjoy your day and return home safely.”
*The exact cause of death is yet to be confirmed in several cases, and will be determined by the Queensland Coroner. If the underlying cause of death is determined to be a medical condition (e.g. heart attack or stroke), it will not be classified as a drowning.