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Lifeguard services significantly boosted at Green Island

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) will significantly boost its professional lifeguard services on Green Island from December 1 in a bid to offer increased protection to swimmers and snorkelers, and eliminate drownings at the popular tourist location.

Thanks to continued support from the Department of Emergency Services, SLSQ will introduce a third full-time permanent lifeguard to patrol Green Island 365 days per year, ensuring greater protection for beachgoers across the peak summer months and beyond.

SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill has no doubt the decision will save lives moving forward.

“As an organisation, our vision is to achieve ‘zero preventable deaths in Queensland waters’ and I’d like to thank the Queensland Government for its continued support which has allowed us to vigorously pursue this overarching goal,” Mr Hill said.

“From December 1, a third lifeguard will patrol Green Island every single day of the year, providing increased surveillance and vastly improving our response time to any incidents that may occur.

“This is a big step forward for our organisation and the local community in terms of protecting swimmers and ensuring that residents and tourists alike remember their time on Green Island for all the right reasons,” he said.

The increase in services comes after Green Island was identified by SLSQ and the Queensland Government as a particularly ‘high risk’ location following a spate of drownings in recent years.

“Over the past 16 years, there have been fifteen beach-related fatalities at Green Island, which is actually the same number of drownings that have occurred at Surfers Paradise during that time, and that’s one of Australia’s biggest and busiest beaches,” Mr Hill said.

“Unfortunately a lot of these incidents have involved international tourists who don’t have a great deal of ocean experience or a genuine understanding of the potential dangers that could be lurking in the surf, and that’s certainly something that we’ll continue to address moving forward.”

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Jack Dempsey said the Government’s commitment of $20 million of funding for SLSQ will mean an additional lifeguard will keep the Cairns community even safer.

“We’ll continue to support Surf Life Saving Queensland in its efforts to improve the safety of beachgoers on Green Island and Queensland-wide,” Mr Dempsey said.

“This is a beautiful part of the state that draws domestic and international tourists, so having an additional lifeguard patrolling every day of the year will save lives.”

Since 1 January 2014 SLSQ’s professional lifeguards on Green Island have performed 7,241 preventative actions, 345 first aid treatments and, most importantly, saved 126 lives in the process.

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