Enhancing emergency beach search and rescue capabilities

Organisation: Surf Life Saving Queensland

Project: Building the capacity of Mackay and Eimeo Surf Life Saving Clubs

Amount: $37,536

Year of grant: 2013

The rapid growth of Mackay as a residential and tourism area has resulted in increasing numbers of visitors to its beautiful beaches. Unfortunately, the influx of beach goers resulted in 2012 having an unprecedented number of rescues compared to previous years.

The beach at Mackay is 5km long with multiple access points. It was getting increasingly difficult for the volunteer Lifesavers from Mackay Surf Live Saving Club to patrol the whole beach as, without a vehicle, they could only do it on foot. An All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) was vital to help them do their job.

Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club patrols three of Northern Mackay’s beaches. A mobile patrol trailer was also vital to enable temporary patrols where dangerous surf conditions had been identified or at heavily accessed beach entry points.

The need to build the capacity of surf life saving clubs in the area so they could increase patrols, surveillance programs and educational messages to those visiting the beaches and, ultimately, provide a safer environment for tourists and local residents alike, strongly aligned with the The John Villiers Trust’s focus area of Community Wellbeing.

Since the equipment was purchased:

  • Mackay Surf Life Saving Club has been able to re-establish roving patrols along the entire 5km length of beach; and
  • to increase preventative actions by the Surf Lifesavers with over 1,400 performed in 2013-14 season compared with 948 the previous season
  • the purchase of the mobile patrol trailer for Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club enabled the Lifesavers to set up beach patrols at heavily accessed areas away from the Club house
  • it has also increased the visibility of Surf Lifesavers and generated interest amongst beach goers who actively approach Lifesavers to discuss beach conditions.