RADICAL PLAN: Would you pay $1 an hour to use the beach?


Surf lifesavers are asking beachgoers to pay a dollar an hour when they are down the beach this summer.

The radical move, at the centre of an ad campaign that kicks of today, urges beachgoers to consider donating one dollar for every hour they spend on the beach in recognition of the 1.4 million hours surf lifesaving volunteers dedicate on patrol to save lives.

Tragically, 248 people drowned across Australia last financial year, and surf lifesavers are preparing for one of the busiest summers ever on Queensland's beaches.

Surf Life Saving Foundation chief operating officer John Brennan said the impact

and dedication of surf lifesavers was often taken for granted.

"Ahead of this summer, we're asking the public, what's an hour of safety worth to you and your family?" Mr Brennan said.

"Our volunteer surf lifesavers dedicate over 1.4 million hours each year on patrol to keeping our beaches safe, and are there for the public in the longest few moments of their life.

"We're asking the public to consider donating $1 for every hour they are at the beach this summer, to match the 1.4 million patrol hours our surf lifesavers dedicate so that when you need them most, they're there to help."

Mooloolaba lifeguards Joshua Linton and Denby Stokes. Picture: Lachie Millard
Mooloolaba lifeguards Joshua Linton and Denby Stokes. Picture: Lachie Millard

The Adopt an Hour ad campaign that kicks off today compares the 1.4 million hours surf lifesaving volunteers dedicate on patrol each season to the seconds that it takes for someone to get into trouble or drown.

The campaign will also target young men and the risk of drowning, with "bravado" being blamed for most beach deaths.

The push comes after Surf Life Saving Queensland's annual Support our Savers or "SOS Week" fundraising campaign raised $382,000 last month.

While the collection by Queensland's 52 surf clubs was $60,000 up on last year, it would easily be eclipsed if every beach user gave even $1.

In the 2019-20 season there were 125 coastal drowning deaths in Australian waters. Of these 125 deaths, males accounted for 86 per cent of the coastal drowning deaths.

In Queensland, lifesavers last year patrolled for 319,101 hours, performed 3894 rescues and 716,215 preventive actions.

Surf Life Saving Australia general manager Coastal Safety Shane Daw said the Adopt an

Hour campaign featured a male drowning victim to highlight that males continued to be over-

represented in drownings year after year.

"Over the last 16 years we know that young males have become the major group who is at risk and involved in drowning incidents," Mr Daw said.

"We know that with young males there is a little bit of bravado, there's a little bit of risk taking - a lot of it isn't deliberate, we get into positions that we don't realise can cause us harm."

Funds raised through the Adopt an Hour appeal will go towards ensuring that volunteer surf

lifesavers will continue to patrol and protect the public on Australian beaches throughout summer.

To donate to the Surf Life Saving Foundation or to Adopt an Hour visit the website.