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Quiet summer for Queensland life savers

February 29, 2012
Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) believes preventative work by lifeguards and a drop in crowd numbers over the holiday season have led to a dramatic drop in rescues performed this summer.
According to SLSQ statistics, the number of lives saved on beaches patrolled by lifeguards fell from 1,351 in December 2010/January 2011 to just 640 on the corresponding dates this summer.
SLSQ Life Saving Services Co-ordinator Stuart Hogben said he was pleased with the results, which indicated preventative work by lifeguards had impacted on the number of rescues needed to be performed. The number of preventative actions recorded rose from 16,883 last year to 21,207 this year.
Hogben explained "we like to see the rescues go down as long as the preventative actions are going up.
"From our point of view, it means our guys were out there being more proactive and actually getting people out of a dangerous area prior to them needing rescue."
Hogben also believed poor weather had been a factor, reducing crowd numbers during peak periods, adding "I think weather and surf conditions probably played a large part in it.
"I know last summer, as much as we had the floods, the beaches were still quite good.
"Whereas three days over the Christmas Day long weekend all the beaches were actually closed on the Gold Coast."
Hogben said he felt the figures also reflected that swimmers were "getting the message" about where to play safely at the beach, concluding "during the start of this summer from September through to Christmas we've had a bit of an increase in swimmers behaving a little bit better and swimming closer to the flagged areas and in the flagged areas a little more than they had in the past.
"So that would lead to less rescues and more preventative actions."

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