Brisbane Lifesaving Service celebrates record-breaking season

Surf Life Saving Queensland’s ground-breaking Brisbane Lifesaving Service (BLS) has celebrated its milestone fourth season on the beaches with an annual presentation awards dinner.

The Australian-first initiative experienced its strongest season to date, in terms of membership growth, services provided, beaches patrolled and total number of patrol hours, as well as Surf Life Saving awards obtained.

Members of BLS this season volunteered almost 4,000 hours patrolling a number of locations across Queensland, including Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast as well as Broadwater Parkland, Tallebudgera Creek, Bilinga, Kirra and Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast.

BLS lifesaving development officer Helen Hallett said it was outstanding to see involvement grow from just 33 members in 2011/12 to an incredible 173 in 2014/15.

“Patrols are the first priority for Brisbane Lifesaving Service members, and to see these ordinary members transform into extraordinary members is nothing short of amazing,” Helen said.

“There is nothing more powerful than the red and yellow army. Their selfless commitment to saving lives, minimising potential risk and above all making a difference to everyone who swims at our beaches – that is what BLS members do. That is power beyond belief.”

SLSQ president and SLSA vice president Ralph Devlin, SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill and SLSQ lifesaving services manager Peta Lawlor were also in attendance to congratulate and thank members for their hard work and commitment over the past 12 months.

BLS by the Numbers:

• 173 members in 2014/15 (increase of more than 400% since 2011/12)

• 3,965 collective patrol hours

• 6 beaches patrolled

• 15 members achieved 100+ patrol hours

• 3 members achieved 200+ patrol hours

• 15 members joined SLSQ Operations Support team

• 19 members became dual members with other Surf Life Saving Clubs

• 10% of BLS membership is from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

2014/15 Award Winners:

• George Hill Brisbane Lifesaver of the Year – Gary Patterson

• Volunteer of the Year – Rohan Dwyer

• Patrol Service Award – Chris Wright (218.5 hours)

• Junior Lifesaver of the Year – Daniel Ryder

• First Year Member Award – Emma Wilcock & Chris Wright

• Trainer of the Year – Morgan Knowles

• Water Safety Person of the Year – Kris Dempster & James Hutchinson

• Encouragement Award – Reza Far, Matty S. & Davood Kazemi

• Olympic Day Team Champions – Team Michal

• Olympic Day Overall Champion – Serge Pankevich

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