Coast Lifeguards and Lifesavers prepare for the Commonwealth Games masses

By GEORGIA BISHOP

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Swim between the red and yellow flags. Photo: Georgia Bishop

With just 8 months to go until the Gold Coast hosts it’s very first Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast Council Lifeguards and volunteer Surf Lifesavers are already preparing for the  inundation of visitors as they flock to our famous coastline known for its notorious surf conditions.

This past Easter, there were a record breaking 236 rescues across the coast by Surf Lifesavers and Lifeguards over the long weekend celebrations.

Unfortunately for boys in blue and white and their red and yellow counterparts, next years Easter long weekend falls just three days prior to the commencement of the Games, suggesting beach patrols will certainly have their hands full.

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Lifeguard tower 40 watches over patrons at popular Main Beach. Photo: Georgia Bishop.

Health, Regulatory, Lifeguard Service and Education Officer, Rod Clayfield-Hoskin regards beach safety education as being the best preventative measure.

“Beach safety and education is very important and we will be informing guests and competitors upon arrival to the Coast and through social media, literature, videos and across the web  that swimming between the red and yellow flags will help keep people safe,” said Rod.

Across the Games period, all 130 council lifeguards, plus additional relief staff will be called to action during the two-week block.

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Just one of many rescue boards that will be used to save lives, both in the lead up to and during the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Photo: Georgia Bishop

Rod insists that an expansion of patrolling regions and their operating hours will also increase public safety.

“We will be extending hours at certain entertainment and game sites .i.e. volleyball, live sites, and across wider perimeters than usual during these such events,” said Rod.

The volunteer surf lifesavers will also be patrolling the beaches over the Easter long weekend.

Bill Thompson, President of the Southport Surf Lifesaving Club at Main Beach believes lifesavers are ready to welcome the influx of international visitors, who are unfamiliar with our beaches and their sometimes deadly conditions.

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Southport Surf Life Saving Club overlooks Main Beach. Photo: Georgia Bishop

“As long as we can contain the masses to between the red and yellow flags, lifesavers shouldn’t be faced with any unusual scenarios or situations we cannot handle.

“This is what we are trained for,” said Bill.

“If the weather permits, lifesavers will get a wonderful opportunity to highlight on an international stage the strong lifesaving community and culture, here on the Gold Coast, during one of our busiest times of the year,” said Bill.

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The signature ‘red and yellow’ of the volunteer lifesavers as seen in the official Surf Life Saving flag. Photo Georgia Bishop

Both Bill and Rod agree that an emphasis on education is imperative to ensuring a safe and smooth Games period on our famous Gold Coast beaches.

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