Lifesavers ask for a helping hand as Surf Safe Appeal kicks off in Queensland

Last year, Queensland’s volunteer surf lifesavers directly saved the lives of 2,124 beachgoers, and now the ‘red and yellow army’ is asking for a helping hand of its own when the annual Surf Safe Appeal kicks off on Monday, 24 October 2016.

Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) annual appeal will see thousands of surf lifesavers take to the streets, doorknocking and brandishing their collection tins from October 24-30 to raise the funds needed to continue their vital community service.

Now in its 13th year, the Surf Safe Appeal is one of SLSQ’s largest fundraising initiatives, with all money raised going straight back into surf life saving clubs and protecting beachgoers across the state.
For the first time ever, SLSQ will also be selling red and yellow surf lifesaving pins, allowing members of the community to proudly show their support.

SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan OAM urged all Queenslanders to dig deep this year, saying the Appeal was pivotal in ensuring that volunteer surf lifesavers had the resources and training to continue safeguarding our state’s beaches and protecting swimmers.

“Each year our lifesavers protect millions of beachgoers across the state, but a lot of people tend to forget that SLSQ is actually a charity organisation which relies heavily on the generosity of the community to ensure that we can continue to deliver that service,” he said.

“When you go to the beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, you can always feel reassured that our trained lifesavers are there to protect you, but now they’re asking for your help.

“We know that not everyone wants to be a volunteer lifesaver, but a donation to this year’s Surf Safe Appeal – no matter how big or small – is an easy way for all Queenslanders to play their part in saving lives on our beaches this summer,” he said.

Last year, Queensland’s surf lifesavers volunteered 352,807 hours to patrol beaches and protect swimmers. During this time they performed 110,288 preventative actions, 4,611 first aid treatments and, most importantly, saved 2,124 lives in the process.

Away from the red and yellow flags, SLSQ’s surf lifesavers are just as active, educating more than 720,000 people last year about beach safety through a variety of educational and community awareness programs.

Mr Brennan said that all money raised throughout the Appeal would be reinvested straight back into funding vital lifesaving services in Queensland.

“To effectively set up a beach patrol, a surf life saving club must be provided with more than $60,000 worth of equipment, including inflatable rescue boats, surf rescue boards, rescue tubes and defibrillators,” Mr Brennan said.

“Along with the cost associated in establishing a beach patrol, it costs $10,000 a year to maintain an active patrol and $850 to train a young lifesaver. Multiply that by 58 surf life saving clubs across the state and the tangible costs of saving lives quickly adds up.

“By donating to this year’s Surf Safe Appeal, the community is effectively ensuring our volunteers have the right tools and training to do their job, which is to save lives.”

Surf lifesavers will be fundraising for the Surf Safe Appeal from Monday 24 October to Sunday 30 October. Donations can be made in person or online at surfsafeappeal.com.au.

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