North Queensland’s army of volunteer surf lifesavers raised the flags on local beaches for the final time last weekend, as the 2019 patrol season officially came to a close on Sunday (November 24).*
Lifesavers from Port Douglas down to Mission Beach have been watching over and protecting beaches on weekends and public holidays since March, and will now take a well-earned rest before the 2020 patrolling season kicks off next year.
Meanwhile, SLSQ’s professional lifeguards will continue their patrols, ensuring sustained coverage across the Christmas holiday period.
SLSQ North Queensland Regional Manager Rob Davidson paid tribute to local lifesavers who, collectively, watched over and protected more than 130,000 beachgoers across the season.
“Our volunteers have done a tremendous job over the past eight months, working hard to protect our beautiful beaches and keep people safe in and around the water,” he said.
“More than 130,000 people visited local beaches on their watch and every single one of them made it home safely, which is a great outcome and a true testament to the dedication and training of our lifesavers across North Queensland.
“Most people probably don’t realise the amount of work our volunteers do behind the scenes – it’s not only patrolling beaches these days, there’s also extensive training, fundraising, coaching, and other duties that are required to deliver their vital service.”
Lifesavers treated more than 125 first aid patients across the season, while a continued focus on proactive patrolling and early intervention saw them perform almost 4,000 preventative actions to help keep beachgoers safe.
“On top of their regular patrol commitments, it was also great to see our members using their expertise to provide water safety at various events including the Cairns Ironman, the Green Island Ocean Swim, and other triathlons,” Mr Davidson said.
“This is another great example of their exceptional commitment to protecting, servicing, and giving back to the community at all levels.”
With the Christmas holidays just weeks away, Mr Davidson said it was more important than ever for all beachgoers to be putting safety first.
“It’s obviously a festive time of the year, but we’re really encouraging beachgoers to remain vigilant when it comes to their safety,” he said.
“We strongly urge anyone going for a swim to only enter the water at a patrolled location, between the flags, and to stay within the stinger nets at all times.
“And if you have young children, please supervise them at all times while in and around the water.
“If you’re ever unsure of conditions or how to stay safe, please don’t hesitate to have a chat to the lifeguards on duty before entering the water.”
* Etty Bay SLSC will continue volunteer patrols for another two weekends.