Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone

In a state-first for surf lifesaving, a new Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone will operate across Tasmania from this weekend; as part of Australia’s first national roll out of lifesaving drones thanks to a partnership between Westpac and Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).

Based at Frederick Henry Bay, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone will perform critical aquatic search and rescue surveillance for surf lifesavers during busy patrol periods. The drone will also be available across the state and throughout the year to support emergency services as required.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone can relay vision with pin-point accuracy, and will be able to use thermal imaging and a loud speaker to assist search and rescue operations such as missing persons, drownings and floods. The drones will also help to spot rips, distressed swimmers and potential hazards in the water, and have the potential in the future to drop buoyancy devices to assist swimmers until help arrives.

Westpac State General Manager for Tasmania, Lester Wynne-Jones, said Westpac is proud to support the evolution of search and rescue services in the state.

“The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program will help local surf lifesavers across Tasmania by providing more eyes in the sky to support patrols and emergency services.

“This new technology will assist those on the frontline by informing emergency responses and providing important assessments of rescue situations, meaning Australian families can feel safer,” Mr. Wynne-Jones said.

With over 93 rescues and 9,225 preventative actions undertaken by Surf Life Saving in Tasmania in the 2017/18 season2, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program will enhance Surf Life Saving’s capacity to provide rescue services at more locations throughout the state, and deliver critical response surveillance when needed.

Photo: Justin Caccavo - Westpac Regional General Manger Tasmania


Boyd Griggs | Operations Manager

M: 0487 435 054

E: bgriggs@slst.asn.au  

School Lifesavers to compete in High School Surf League at two ends of the State

The popular High School Surf League conducted by Surf Life Saving Tasmania kicks off at 10am today with high school students from across the states North descending on Preservation Bay in Penguin. Then, Thursday we will see the Southern event take place once again at Kingston Beach.

This incredibly successful program aimed for high school students has been running for a number of years, growing in popularity and evolving to include a number of new events that further complement the exciting competition program. 

“The High School Surf League is all about inclusivity, participation and fun. Ultimately, the program is designed to introduce students to surf life saving skills and competition in a challenging format, enabling students to put their abilities to the test against the surf environment and students from other local schools.

The High School Surf League encompasses activities relating to ocean swimming, beach sprints and flags, board paddling and surf rescue disciplines.” said Leanne Johannesen, Training and Community Programs Manager.

This year’s program will see 13 schools and over 212 high school students registered to participate. Today, Latrobe High School and Marist Regional College are tipped to be top point scorers with strong numbers and teams and taking into account previous years performances. However, Burnie High are this year making a comeback to the series after a number of years having not sent a team. The event will prove challenging with predicted on shore winds and choppy conditions – it’s really anyone’s race tomorrow!

In the south; Mackillop College will once again be a force to be reckoned with as winners of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 event. However, Triabunna District School will be in attendance with a strong team, as will St. Aloyisus College who have been training for the event for some time. Both will also be fighting to be crowned overall winner of the 2018 series.

Other schools in attendance are;

  • Penguin District School
  • North West Christian School
  • Leighland Christian School
  • Ulverstone High School
  • Ogilvie High School
  • Mount Carmel College
  • St. Aloyisus College
  • Kingston High School


Media Opportunities

The League commences in the North of the state at 10am Tuesday 20th March 2018 at Preservation Bay in Penguin and conclude with presentations at approximately 2.30pm. Thursday 22nd March 2018, the Southern League Event will take place at Kingston Beach.

Image 1 – Beach Flags competitor

Beach Flags

Image 2 – Beach Relay change-over

Beach Relay

Image 3 – Board Relay Paddler

 Board Relay Paddler


Leanne Johannesen | Training & Community Programs Manager

M: 0447 287 847


Surf Lifesaving Tasmania launch Summer as patrols hit the beaches this weekend

Tasmanian surf lifesavers will be out in full force around the State from this weekend through until Easter; providing volunteer patrols at their local beaches and delivering community education programs statewide. Additionally, Surf Life Saving will be hosting the 2017 Floor Rescue Symposium in Hobart whereby delegates representing the European Union, United Kingdom and USA will be in attendance to share knowledge and experience gained from lessons learnt through response to flooding and extreme weather events. 

 Launch of Summer

Tipped to be a scorcher of a summer, Surf Life Saving Tasmania encourages everyone to recreate safely and swim between the flags where possible and don’t take risks. If you’re planning on visiting the beach or heading to the lakes, Surf Life Saving Tasmania encourages all members of the public to remember the following water safety tips:

Key Water Safety Messages:

  • Check the conditions – whether you’re surfing, kayaking or boating, familiarise yourself with the local conditions and the weather forecast.

If you’re surfing or swimming at a beach, spend some time back from the water looking for rips and other potential hazards before heading out or ask a local about the area. For tips on how to do this look for the Beach Safety fact sheets at www.slst.asn.au or www.beachsafe.org.au

For boating and lightweight craft safety tips visit the Marine and Safety Tasmania Website at www.mast.tas.gov.au and download the Boatwise app from iTunes

  • Enjoy the day with friends – one of the simplest ways to reduce risk is to partner up with friends and to keep an eye out for one another while enjoying the activity you are undertaking on the coast and let someone know where you are going
  • Leave the alcohol at home – having fun in or on the water is no place for alcohol
  • If in doubt, don’t go out, don’t exceed your own abilities
  • Stay safe, have fun and enjoy summer!

Surf Life Saving Tasmania’s Operations Manager, Boyd Griggs said that over 900 volunteers from Surf Life Saving Tasmania would be patrolling some of the State’s popular beaches over the holiday period from Boat Harbour in the north west to Kingston Beach in the south there is also patrolled beaches at Bridport and Scamander on the east coast.  Last season, across Tasmania SLST conducted; 

  • 22,000 volunteer patrol hours
  • Saved 152 Lives
  • Carried out 84 First Aid Treatments
  • Carried out 963 Preventative Actions
  • Reached over 30,000 people via community awareness programs, 17,000 of which were youth

“Research shows that most people drown during summer in the peak holiday periods in fine weather.  Men aged 30-39 have been identified as risk takers and represent the majority of those who drowned last year” he said.  People who live 10 km to 50 km from the coast make up almost half of recorded drowning.

Lightweight craft including sit on top kayaks and other water devices for use at the beach require extra care at this time of year.  “Young people using these, for instance received as a Christmas gift, are often unfamiliar with these devices and are not aware of the unpredictability of the surf environment. Therefore, special attention needs to be given to preparation of trips and the requirement for personal protective equipment including lifejackets” says Mr Griggs.

SLST has 14 Surf Life Saving Clubs, 7 Volunteer Marine Rescue Groups and 3 Support Operations Groups providing volunteer emergency services 365 days of the year for inland, inshore and offshore waters. Statewide Search and Rescue Operations Teams support Tasmania Police by providing volunteer emergency personnel and resources when tasked.  SLST continues to work with a range of partners to implement evidence based intervention strategies to address water safety issues and grow services in required areas.

With forecasted hot weather up to the new year, volunteer members will be patrolling at the Falls Festival at Marion Bay for the duration of the event. Those visiting the beach will be encouraged to swim between the red and yellow flags, and SLIP, SLOP, SLAP and SLIDE*!

Lifesaving Services in Tasmania

  • SLST Surf Life Saving Clubs - 14 regions (from Boat Harbour to Scamander to Clifton Beach) patrolled by volunteer surf lifesavers in Tasmania every weekend and public holidays from first weekend in December to last weekend in March
  • SLST Lifeguard Services – SLST, in partnership with Clarence City Council and Clifton Beach SLSC, providing a 7 days-a-week lifesaving service at Clifton Beach through the school summer holidays (22nd Dec to Monday 5th February). A mid-week service will also commence from January at Long Beach, Sandy Bay, Hobart and incorporate a Community Activities Holiday programs (to be advertised shortly). Services will continue to expand to other areas in the New Year.
  • SLST Support Operations - 4 Rescue Water Craft (jetskis) providing a roving patrols and education in Frederick Henry Bay, along with assisting police with Statewide Search and Rescue operations when tasked
  • Volunteer Marine Rescue – 7 units providing off-shore rescue capabilities
  • Water Safety Education Programs – various aquatic safety programs for schools and the public
  • Aquatic Risk Auditing and Management


  • SLIP on a t-shirt
  • SLOP on some sunscreen
  • SLAP on a hat
  • SLIDE on some sunglasses 


Boyd Griggs | Operations Manager

M: 0487 435 054

E: bgriggs@slst.asn.au