Last Thursday a lifeguard on a Gold Coast beach rescued a 10 year old boy.
He was caught in a dangerous rip and wouldn’t have made it back to shore without help.
It was just one of 12,000 rescues that life savers will make on Australian beaches this year. But this one was different. The boy in trouble was Danish Prince Christian, the son of Prince Frederick & Princess Mary who are holidaying in Australia. Christian had been swimming between the flags before being caught in the rip.
It’s the stuff of nightmares and with good reason. Australian beaches might be iconic, beyond beautiful and etched into our national psyche, but they are also dangerous.
Luckily, there is a group of Australians who work around the clock, around the calendar, mostly on their own time, to make the beach a little bit safer for all of us.
Since 1907, when the Surf Life Saving movement began, lifesavers have saved more than 615,000 lives in Australia.
It started with some volunteers protecting the lives of fellow beach goers on Bondi Beach by performing patrols and rescues. Now, trained surf lifesavers spend more than a 1.4 million hours a year patrolling our beaches, pools and coastlines.
Each year, aside from making 12,000 rescues, surf lifesavers and Australian Lifeguard Service lifeguards provide emergency care to 64,000 beachgoers and give safety advice to more than 900,000 others.
With 169,633 members and 313 affiliated Surf Life Saving Clubs, Surf Life Saving Australia represents the largest volunteer movement of its kind in the world.
About 700 lifeguards are employed at 250 beaches across Australia and deliver professional lifeguard services to local governments, land managers and resorts.