- Life-Fi is now available at Surfers Paradise Beach
- Real-time safety alert technology is being rolled out across select beaches in Queensland
- Life-Fi breaks down language barriers through a live feed in seven language
Life-Fi, free wi-fi accessible only between the red and yellow flags, is now available at Surfers Paradise Beach on weekends.
The tourist hotspot has become the latest beach to trial the technology following its launch in Mooloolaba late last year, and subsequent roll-out across key locations.
Funded by the Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, Life-Fi aims to break down the communication barriers between lifesavers and international tourists by pushing out real-time safety alerts encouraging all beachgoers to swim between the flags.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Acting Chief Executive Officer Kris Beavis said the popularity of Surfers Paradise Beach provided an incredible opportunity to communicate important safety information to international tourists in their own language.
“With over 90,000 beachgoers visiting Surfers Paradise Beach on weekends alone over summer, there’s no doubt it is one of the most popular on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“However, Surfers Paradise is also a blackspot, with lifesavers performing 93 rescues at the beach over summer. Of these, at least 48 were known to be international visitors.
“Clearly, there’s an opportunity for Life-Fi technology to play a key role in helping us save lives by delivering vital safety messaging to beachgoers.”
Mr Beavis said international beachgoers who don’t speak English and don’t have a lot of experience in the surf, could easily be caught off guard.
“International and recent migrants have accounted for 41% of all drownings on Queensland beaches in the last 10 years,” he said.
“This summer, 85% of rescues in Queensland occurred outside the flags, including 777 that were more than one kilometre away from the nearest set of flags. At least a quarter of these rescues involved international tourists or migrants.
“Through Life-Fi, live information on conditions, closures and other safety tips is communicated to beachgoers in English, Arabic, Hindi, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Thai.”
Mr Beavis said Life-fi provided a strong incentive for beachgoers to swim between the flags.
“Our safety signage remains a core communicative tool for our lifeguards and lifesavers, but not all beachgoers are able to read the information contained on our signs,” he said.
“We know that people take their phones with them to the beach and we are capitalising on this fact. We want every beachgoer, whether international or domestic, swimming between the flags and Life-Fi is another way to encourage beachgoers to stay between the flags and allow us to communicate vital safety messaging.”
Life-Fi is now being trialled at 7 beaches in Queensland, including Mooloolaba, Burleigh Heads, Green Island, Surfers Paradise, Maroochydore, Caloundra and Southport.