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Surf lifesavers go from Beach to Bush to spread water safety messages

Surf lifesavers aren’t beating around the bush when it comes to water safety this summer.

Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) annual Breaka Beach to Bush program kicks off next week (October 13-17), with volunteer lifesavers trading the surf for some of the state’s most remote and regional communities in a bid to spread the water safety message far and wide.

The educational program has been operating in Queensland since 1998 and remains one of the largest and most innovative community awareness initiatives in Australia, having directly reached more than 270,000 school children since its inception.

More than 10,000 students from 57 primary schools across the state will be receiving vital surf and water safety education as part of this year’s program, with communities as diverse as Chinchilla, Cooktown, Biloela, Roma and Moranbah all set to welcome the unique sight of surf lifesavers.

While primarily focusing on surf and beach safety, the skills and information taught to the children can also be applied to any type of water situation including rivers, dams, creeks, pools or waterways.

SLSQ lifesaving services manager Peta Lawlor said that people who lived more than 50 kilometres from the beach had been identified as a ‘high-risk’ group.

“It’s no secret that Australians love the water, be it the beach, the backyard pool or a country dam,” she said.

“With that in mind, it’s really important that every single Queenslander – regardless of where they live – is equipped with some of the basic skills, information and knowledge to protect themselves and others while in the water this summer.

“The Breaka Beach to Bush program helps our surf lifesavers continue to spread important water safety messages far and wide throughout Queensland. It’s a really fun program for the kids and the lifesavers alike, delivering potentially lifesaving water safety lessons in a fun and engaging way, and giving participants some skills they’ll hopefully be able to take with them for life,” she said.

Ms Lawlor said students will receive vital water safety tips by taking part in an interactive presentation with a focus on swimming between the red and yellow flags, always following safety signs and looking out for each other while enjoying the water.

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