THEY are normally the ones doing the helping, but Western Australia’s surf life savers need a helping hand themselves this summer.
Surf Life Saving WA’s 2016 BeachSAFE Appeal kicked off on Monday, raising vital funds to support Western Australia’s 30 surf life saving clubs with more than 5000 patrolling lifesavers.
Last summer more than 570 lives were saved on WA beaches by volunteer surf lifesavers.
In 2015/16 volunteer surf life savers performed in excess of 107,500 volunteer patrol hours and administered first aid to 5055 beach goers.
When the abalone season opened on November 6, patrol teams conducted 54 rescues within the one-hour fishing window.
Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) CEO James O’Toole urged people to dig deep to help support this essential community service.
“Visiting and using the beaches and the lifesaving services are free, but ensuring our volunteers have the correct equipment and training is the financial burden, and this is where we are asking for the community’s help,” Mr O’Toole said.
This year’s appeal will see a range of activities taking place, including the annual street collection on Friday December 2 when thousands of volunteers will shake their donation tins.
That day is also Boardies Day, where SLSWA is calls on businesses, schools and communities to get involved by wearing their favourite board shorts or beach wear to school or work for a gold coin donation on the day.
People can also donate online at www.beachsafeappeal.com.au or by texting “lifesaver’ to 0437 371 371.
“Every dollar donated helps us support our volunteers in continuing their life saving work,” Mr O’Toole said.
“This summer we are drawing a line in the sand, with the aim of zero preventable drowning deaths on WA beaches; but we can only do this with the community’s help.
“You can be a lifesaver by donating during the appeal.”