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Surf Life Saving Australia smart phone app translates into saving lives
Surf Life Saving Australia's recent release of a smartphone app which provides real time beach and water safety messages in 72 languages looks set to save lives this summer.
The Beachsafe app lets users obtain beach safety information and conditions for more than 12,000 Australian beaches and, in Queensland, will support the Queensland Government's 'On the Same Wave' initiative, a partnership with Surf Life Saving Queensland.
Welcoming the launch of the app last week, Queensland's Multicultural Affairs Minister Glen Elmes stated "we are home to a culturally diverse community, with people from more than 220 different countries who speak more than 220 languages living in Queensland.
"Unfortunately, drowning victims in Australia include an over-representation of people from culturally diverse backgrounds who are considered a high-risk group by surf authorities.
"Last financial year, six of the eight recorded drownings were of an international background, and all were male.
"The year before, there were five recorded preventable surf/beach related drownings in Queensland, and again all male.
"Understanding beach and surf conditions and following safe surfing techniques are pre-requisites to enjoying our great beach environment incident-free.
"The surf can be an unforgiving environment, and sometimes there are no second chances."
Queensland Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said with more than 20 million visitors travelling to Queensland each year, the app would provide an important service in keeping tourists safe, adding "Queensland is famous for its beach culture and a lifestyle based around the water which attracts tourists to our state each year. Being aware of potential dangers is key to avoiding them, and enjoying the beach safely.
"The app is directed at people from non-English speaking backgrounds, but it also includes an English version to provide useful information for anyone planning a perfect day at the beach.
"This revamped app will allow users to access vital information about beaches close to them and make informed decisions about where they swim."
The Beachsafe app is available for free for IOS and Android and can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.
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