Surf Life Saving Queensland lifeguards kept a watchful eye on more than seven million visitors to the Sunshine Coast's red and yellow flags last year, saving nearly 400 lives and carrying out 262,018 warnings to beachgoers.
An annual report* into lifeguard services for the region revealed just how crucial Council's $5.2 million annual investment was in local beach safety.
Sunshine Coast Council Economy Portfolio Councillor Jason O'Pray said he was proud to see 20 areas across the Coast were patrolled last year, from Golden Beach in the south to Coolum Beach in the north.
"Our lifeguards and lifesavers are our unsung water heroes who help keep our beaches safe for everyone," Cr O'Pray said.
"The 2019/20 season included two lifeguards at all times when the Boardwalk Beach and Yaroomba Beach towers were patrolled, plus extra lifeguards during the peak patrol season between September and May at Marcoola, Discovery, Twin Waters and Mudjimba.
"The September school holidays are just around the corner, and I'm pleased to share this year council has allocated an extra $324,000 which includes the start of the new Bokarina Beach lifeguard service, bringing council's investment in lifeguard services for the region for 2020/21 to $5.5 million.
"This will be patrolled on weekends, public holidays and Queensland school holidays from September to May."
Surf Life Saving Queensland Sunshine Coast Lifeguard Supervisor Rhys Drury said last year was a busy one for the red and yellow army consisting of 107 lifeguards in the region.
"Being a lifeguard may seem like a dream job to many, but it's also one we take very seriously because beach safety awareness is a major priority for us," Mr Drury said.
"With Spring just around the corner we're reminding beachgoers to please ensure they make responsible choices while they enjoy the beach."
Sunshine Coast Lifeguard William Moore, of Coolum, has spent 32 years of his life patrolling Australian beaches, and has been part of the local contingent for the past 24 years.
"When you reunite kids with their parents it's a pretty special feeling," Mr Moore said.
"You know someone has got to go home to their loved ones and if you weren't there, it may not have happened.
"It's an iconic, Australian thing to go to the beach. It's part of our psyche.
"That's why I'm proud to do what I do."
People can view patrol times and locations at the Beachsafe website. Patrol times will vary depending on the season and beach. Lifeguard services are provided by Surf Life Saving Queensland and proudly funded by Sunshine Coast Council.
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags;
- Check beach conditions before swimming;
- Learn beach safety rules regarding rips, stingers and sun safety.
*Australian Lifeguard Service Beach Safety Report 2019-20 Year in Review