SOLEMN: Surf Life Saving Queensland hold a Memorial Day service at Sunshine Beach Surf Club.Jane Fraser and Allison Johnstone prepare to take a wreath to the ocean to honour people who have lost their lives.
SOLEMN: Surf Life Saving Queensland hold a Memorial Day service at Sunshine Beach Surf Club.Jane Fraser and Allison Johnstone prepare to take a wreath to the ocean to honour people who have lost their lives. Warren Lynam

Our red and yellow tribute at Sunshine Beach

MORE than 300 families spent the long weekend together thanks to the efforts of Sunshine Coast lifesaving volunteers over the summer.

On the final weekend of the 2016/17 volunteer patrol season at Sunshine Beach, lifesavers and community members gathered under the clear blue skies to commemorate the Coast's single drowning victim and remember lifesavers who have also lost their lives this year.

Surf Life Saving Queensland Sunshine Coast manager Aaron Purchase said it was important to reflect on those who lost their lives in the surf.

"One drowning is still too many,” he said.

"Today's an important day to reflect on those we've lost, not only in the surf but members of the lifesaving community who are no longer with us, and the work they've put in to keeping our beaches safe.”

Since the patrol season began last September, surf lifesavers across the Coast rescued 317 people from the water, with 238 of those performed outside of patrol flags and 145 attributed to rips. Volunteers also treated 11,409 patients with first aid - 10,520 of people treated had been injured by stingers.

The single Coast death occurred last month when an elderly woman drowned while swimming on an unpatrolled beach.

Uniformed lifesavers paid their respects this week by taking a red and yellow wreath out to sea. The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service did a commemorative fly-over.

Mr Purchase said although this season had come to an end and the lifesavers were looking forward to a break, clubs were already thinking ahead to the 2017/18 season and encouraged anybody interested in lending a hand to sign up.

"Lots of people think you have to be really fit to volunteer, and there are those who do need to be for rescues, but there's still plenty of work that goes on behind the scenes that we need help with,” he said.

"We're always looking for more volunteers.”

Lifeguards will continue to patrol Coast beaches throughout winter, as will the rescue helicopter, and emergency response teams will remain on-call 24/7.

From September last year through to last Monday, Queensland lifesavers watched more than 3.41million people on our beaches. During this time they performed 71,931 preventative actions to pro-actively safeguard swimmers, treated 24,912 first aid patients, and directly saved the lives of 936 beachgoers via in-water rescues. Of these, 690 rescues occurred outside of the red and yellow flags.


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