Mackay lifeguards celebrate 25 years of saving lives

Mackay’s lifeguards will notch a historic milestone this year when they celebrate 25 years of saving lives on local beaches.

Operating since 1991, initially at Harbour Beach before expanding to include other key locations, Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) professional lifeguard arm provides a vital year-round patrol service and crucial support to volunteer surf lifesavers.

Last year alone, SLSQ’s lifeguards across Mackay performed 68,630 preventative actions to proactively safeguard beachgoers, treated 67 injured first aid patients, and directly saved the lives of 93 swimmers in distress via in-water rescues.

To recognise the milestone, SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan OAM presented a 25 Year Service Award to Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson to acknowledge their support and contribution to reducing drownings across the past 25 years.

Mr Brennan said the service had come a long way since 1991, and was directly responsible for saving thousands of lives during that time.

“We started at Harbour Beach back in 1991 and, since then, have developed into a world-class and highly-advanced service which also encompasses Lamberts, Eimeo and Sarina Beach along with Blue Water Lagoon,” he said.

“In the past 25 years our lifeguards have been directly responsible for saving thousands of lives on local beaches and we’re looking forward to working with council to build on this over the next 25 years and beyond.”

The presentation wasbe made against the backdrop of SLSQ’s 2016 North Australian Championships, which will see more than 400 lifesavers lining up to compete across the weekend.

The annual event will see some of the region’s top competitors from under 11 through to opens and masters converge on Mackay, across three days to contest a wide range of surf life saving events including beach flags, sprints, surf ski, pool rescue, surf boats, inflatable rescue boat racing, and the prestigious ironman and ironwoman.

Mayor Greg Williamson said it was exciting that this weekend’s North Australian Championships coincided with an important milestone for a long-standing partnership between council and Surf Life Saving Queensland.

“Surf Life Lifesaving Queensland first started providing full-time lifeguard services at Harbour Beach 25 years ago in partnership with council,’’ Cr Williamson said.

“Later, those services were expanded to other beaches, including Sarina, Eimeo and Lamberts beaches,’’ he said.

“Lifeguard services have also been provided at the Bluewater Lagoon since it opened in 2008.”

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