In the past five years alone, more than 7,000 beachgoers have been pulled from the ocean and given a second chance at life, thanks only to the training and bravery of Queensland’s volunteer surf lifesavers.
Now, the ‘red and yellow army’ is asking for a helping hand of its own as Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) kicks off its 2018 SOS Week fundraising appeal (October 15-21).
During SOS Week, Queensland communities are being urged to ‘Support our Savers’ and recognise the crucial role that volunteers perform up and down the coastline.
Volunteer lifesavers will be out in force across the week, doorknocking and rattling collection tins to raise vital funds and awareness, with all proceeds going straight back into saving lives on Queensland beaches.
SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan urged everyone to chip in a dollar or two when they see a surf lifesaver out and about during SOS Week.
“Fundraising is essential to ensuring our volunteer surf lifesavers have the necessary equipment, training and resources to continue to deliver the highest level of beach safety,” Mr Brennan said.
“As a charity organisation, SLSQ relies heavily on the generosity of the community to deliver our lifesaving services, along with a range of educational and community awareness programs.”
Since July 2013, SLSQ’s volunteer surf lifesavers have performed 470,837 preventative actions to proactively safeguard swimmers, treated 50,489 injured first aid patients, and directly saved the lives of 7,208 beachgoers through in-water rescues.
“Rain, hail or shine, our volunteer lifesavers are out there every weekend during the patrol season to watch over and keep swimmers safe in the water, but now it’s our turn to send out an SOS of our own,” he said.
“To effectively set up a beach patrol, a surf life saving club requires more than $60,000 worth of equipment, including, but not limited to, inflatable rescue boats, surf rescue boards, rescue tubes, defibrillators, first aid kits and flags.
“By donating, communities across Queensland are effectively ensuring our volunteers have the right tools and training to do their jobs, which is to save lives.”
Volunteers will be doorknocking and collecting at various locations during SOS Week. Donations can also be made online at sosweek.com.au.