Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) acclaimed Gold Coast Beach Safe program has now educated 700,000 visitors to the region, a major milestone in the program’s history.
The Gold Coast Beach Safe airport service has been in place since 2008, with SLSQ staff members donning the red and yellow and distributing information maps (iMaps) to visitors arriving on an average of 110 flights each week from around Australia, New Zealand and across Asia.
Gold Coast Beach Safe program coordinator Scott Harrison said the iMaps are an important part of SLSQ’s commitment to focusing on preventative action, through a strategy to extend its community education programs in an effort to break the drowning cycle.
“Our statistics show us that people from Victoria, Japan and Malaysia are at greatest risk of drowning on Gold Coast beaches, so the program aims to greet them when they first arrive and deliver vital surf safety information before they make their first beach visit,” he said.
“The information maps show very clearly which beaches on the Gold Coast are patrolled, as well as important safety advice in 15 languages, including a guide to the different-coloured flags used on the beach.
“We hope this information will continue to help thousands of visitors keep their holidays incident-free, as part of our vision of zero preventable deaths in Queensland waters.”
Gold Coast Beach Safe’s major program partner, Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre, acknowledged the importance of the program and its impact on keeping visitors to the region safe.
“The Gold Coast Beach Safe program provides a vital community service that not only works to protect beach-goers, but to also position the Gold Coast as a welcoming holiday destination through education of our greatest attraction – our beautiful beaches,” said Harbour Town tourism marketing manager Rebecca Myers.
“As a shopping centre, we welcome guests from all around Australia and the world, and we are proud to support a program that promotes the safe use of our beaches to both locals and visitors.”
Hundreds of visitors from as far as Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne are greeted on an average day.
Gold Coast Beach Safe is just one part of Surf Life Saving Queensland’s wider community education program, and aims to reach the 1 million visitor goal by the end of this season.