Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) and The University of Queensland (UQ) are joining forces in a bid to save lives along Queensland’s coastline.
The two organisations have announced a formal partnership covering a range of areas including surf safety education and awareness, collaborative research and best practices in lifesaving.
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the partnership was the start to a new relationship, based on mutual strengths and areas of interest.
“One of the great attractions about living, visiting and studying in Queensland is having vast coastlines of magnificent beaches,” he said.
“However, we know that as beautiful as these elements are, they can also be dangerous places.
“This partnership will allow us to apply UQ’s top quality research and translate this knowledge into practices that will help beach goers stay safe and better understand their environment.
“UQ and SLSQ share many values, and I look forward to building a strong partnership that benefits both organisations.”
SLSQ Chief Executive Officer John Brennan thanked UQ for its support, saying the fledgling partnership would open up significant opportunities for both organisations moving forward.
“As the State’s peak authority on beach safety and aquatic rescue, we’re really excited and proud to be partnering with a globally respected education industry leader in UQ,” he said.
“As an organisation, we have more than a century of lifesaving experience to our name, but we’re always looking for ways to improve our service delivery to ultimately help achieve our vision of ‘zero preventable deaths in Queensland public waters’.
“Importantly, this partnership provides a great opportunity for SLSQ to work closely with UQ’s team of experts to facilitate ongoing research and development programs, with the aim of expanding our knowledge base, improving best practices, and refining surf rescue techniques and training.”
With more than 30,000 members, SLSQ is one of the largest volunteer-based community service organisations in Australia.
Last year alone, SLSQ’s volunteer surf lifesavers across the state spent more than 350,000 hours on patrol along Queensland’s coastline, combining with professional lifeguards to perform 648,831 preventative actions, 19,105 first aid treatments and directly save 3,648 lives through in-water rescues.
UQ’s sponsorship will directly support SLSQ’s award-winning On The Same Wave multicultural program which, last year alone, educated more than 157,000 international tourists, migrants and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds about surf safety.
In 2014, the Queensland higher education sector welcomed more than 48,000 international students, with more than 11,000 choosing to study at UQ.
The sponsorship will also contribute to SLSQ’s Leadership Excellence Program, which seeks to develop the skills of young leaders within the surf lifesaving movement, as well as the Secondary School Surf League – aimed at increasing competition and participation in lifesaving activities across the state.