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Don’t booze and beach, plead lifesavers ahead of Australia Day

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is pleading with beachgoers to swim sober and stick to the flagged areas when they hit the water this Australia Day.

In years gone by, surf lifesavers have often been kept busy on Australia Day responding to incidents involving intoxicated swimmers, and SLSQ operations coordinator Jason Argent said enough was enough.

“The majority of swimmers and beachgoers on Australia Day are really well behaved, but unfortunately each year we still see a lot of people enter the surf while intoxicated and, more often than not, that leads to trouble,” he said.

“What’s most disappointing is that those people aren’t only risking their own lives, they’re also putting our volunteer members and lifeguards into an extremely dangerous situation as well.

“We know that people will be out to have a good time on Australia Day and we don’t want to stop that – all we’re asking is for people to hit the beach and get their swimming out of the way before they hit the drinks,” he said.

Historically, Australia Day has been one of the busiest days of the year for surf lifesavers and lifeguards on patrol, as large crowds flock to the beach to beat the heat and make the most of the public holiday.

Last year, SLSQ’s surf lifesavers and lifeguards across the state performed 6,202 preventative actions to safeguard swimmers, treated 136 injured first aid patients and, most importantly, successfully performed 63 rescued across the day.

Mr Argent said surf lifesavers would be working hard across the day to make sure beachgoers made it home safely.

“The beach is a great place to spend Australia Day, but we’re simply asking for swimmers to look after themselves and each other,” he said.

“We want all beachgoers to have fun but, more importantly, we want them to get home safely and look back on their Australia Day with fond memories.

“Always remember that just silly decision, or moment of madness, can have long-term and even fatal consequences.”

Beachgoers are encouraged to follow these simple guidelines to enjoy an incident-free Australia Day:
– Always swim at patrolled beaches and only between the red and yellow flags;
– Look for and follow the advice on safety signs;
– If you’re unsure about the conditions, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard on duty before entering the water;
– Always swim with a friend where possible and keep an eye on each other;
– If you find yourself in trouble, put your hand up for help;
– Always supervise young children in and around the water; and
– Never swim at night or at unpatrolled locations.

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