Tasmanian’s celebrate National Water Safety Day by wearing red and yellow and volunteer patrols kick off this weekend

From Surf Life Saving Tasmania | 30 November 2021

Tasmanian surf lifesavers will be out in full force around the State from this weekend (Saturday 4th December) through until Easter and offering extended services to the community through the addition of adhoc patrols and rolling out of community education programs statewide. As a perfectly fitting segway into the weekend, Tasmanian’s have been invited to celebrate the inaugural National Water Safety Day by wearing the iconic red and yellow to raise awareness of swimming between the red and yellow flags, where possible. Once again, Surf Life Saving Tasmania Lifeguards will be providing weekday patrols at popular beaches, Clifton beach and Long Beach, Sandy Bay.

With reports of more Tasmanians’ than ever taking to the water, investing in new boats during the COVID-19 pandemic, Surf Life Saving Tasmania and Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) want to reinforce the importance of being prepared to be safe this summer. Through targeted safety campaigns both SLST and MAST aim to reach and educate those amateur boaties with ‘all the gear and no idea’.

Be safe this Summer!

Unfortunately, the highest number of drowning deaths occur during the summer period. As more Tasmanian’s holiday at home this summer, and as the days get warmer and we get closer to the boarders opening on 15th December open we are tipped to see tourism flurry, Surf Life Saving Tasmania urges everyone to recreate safely, swim between the flags where possible and don’t take risks. If you’re planning on visiting the beach or other various waterways, Surf Life Saving Tasmania encourages all members of the public to remember the following water safety tips and remember to stay COVID-safe.

  • STOP, LOOK, PLAN - whether you’re surfing, kayaking or boating, familiarise yourself with the local conditions, weather forecast, be aware of your limitations and have available the right safety equipment.
  • 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 and latest standards (lifejackets and safety gear), visit the Marine and Safety Tasmania Website at www.mast.tas.gov.au.
  • 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 or drugs
  • Be sensible - If in doubt, don’t go out, don’t exceed your own abilities
  • Wear a lifejacket - if you are going boating, rock fishing, or on watercraft  
  • Remember to stay COVID-Safe and set yourself up at least 1.5m away from others — more is better, if you can. You should still swim between the flags (where possible), but remember to demonstrate social distancing requirements
  • Stay safe, have fun and enjoy summer!

Surf Life Saving Tasmania’s Training and Community Programs Manager, Leanne Johannesen said that approximately 1,500 volunteers from Surf Life Saving Clubs (1,004 in 2020/21) and Marine Rescue Units (147 in 2020/21) would be patrolling some of the State’s popular beaches and waterways over the holiday period. Last season, across Tasmania SLST conducted;

  • 22 Lives Saved
  • 6,492 Preventative Actions
  • 20,803 Volunteer Patrol Hours
  • 1,431 Lifeguard Patrol Hours
  • 71 First Aid Treatments
  • 42 Emergency Response System Activations
  • 3,096 Total Members
  • 1,057 Total Nippers
  • 50,000 People reached via Community Awareness Programs, over 18,000 youth

“During 2020/21, it was obvious that COVID changed the way we live, including where we recreate, take holidays and the activities we engage in. Many Tasmanians, instead of taking that overseas or interstate trip, chose to holiday at home, creating an increase in both local and regional coastal visitation. Despite COVID-19 restrictions there was an increase in drowning deaths across Australia last year (294), an increase of 20% on the previous year (245) with more than 51% occurring more than 5km from a surf lifesaving service. Summer represents the highest period of time when drownings occur, making up 34% of all drowning deaths in 2020-21.”

“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. Also, with reports of so many Australians joining the boating community during the COVID-19 pandemic, coast guards and our volunteer marine rescue volunteers are becoming increasingly worried about inexperienced boat owners pushing their limits to the extreme. Despite 81% of boaters showing “compliancy” to carrying safety equipment, an overwhelming majority of the coastal fatalities and drowning deaths along the Australian coastline were not wearing a lifejacket at the time of death (over 70%).” says Mrs. Johannesen.

SLST has 15 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.

Lifesaving Services in Tasmania

  • SLST Surf Life Saving Clubs - 15 (from Boat Harbour to Kingston Beach). 14 patrolled by volunteer surf lifesavers in Tasmania every weekend and public holidays from first weekend in December to last weekend in March. Raspins Beach SLSC are currently a probationary club not providing patrols.
  • 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 (15th December to 10th February). A mid-week service will also commence from 4th January at Long Beach, Sandy Bay, Hobart and deliver a 4-week Community Education Holiday Program.
  • SLST Support Operations - 2 Rescue Water Craft (jetskis) and 2 Jet Rescue Boats providing roving patrols and education, along with assisting police with State-wide Search and Rescue operations when tasked
  • Volunteer Marine Rescue – 7 units providing off-shore rescue capabilities. Wynyard to Kettering
  • Water Safety Education Programs – various aquatic safety programs for schools and the public
  • “Our club, is your club” National Recruitment Campaign - https://sls.com.au/our-club-is-your-club/

More information

Contact (media opportunities on request)

Contact: Leanne Johannesen | Training & Community Programs Manager

M: 0447 287 847 | E: ljohannesen@slst.asn.au

  • Wednesday 1st December – National Water Safety Day
  • Saturday 4th December – Volunteer Patrols Commence State wide
  • Wednesday 15th December – Clifton Beach Lifeguard Service Commences
  • Tuesday 4th January 2022 – Sandy Bay Lifeguard Service & Holiday Program Commences

Photographs – (Available on request due to file size)

  1. Image 1 - Volunteer, Bridget Fasnacht of Kingston Beach SLSC at Clifton Beach
  2. Image 2 - Volunteers, Moira Black of Kingston Beach SLSC and Ron Kelly of Clifton Beach at Clifton Beach


Beach to Bush Program 2021 Kicks off Next Week!

From Surf Life Saving Tasmania | 11th October 2021

Australia’s most popular primary aged surf education program kicks off next week (Monday 11th October) and this year is set to be a record breaking one, as the target is to visit 100 schools. Just over 5,000 Tasmanian Grades 1 and 2 primary school students have already signed up to be getting a lesson on surf safety from Surf Life Saving Tasmania’s volunteer Lifesavers.

Clarendon Vale Primary School on Hobart’s Eastern Shore is the first stop for the Beach to Bush Teams. Before this Summer hits us, Surf Life Saving Tasmania aim to visit 100 primary schools in the hope of achieving the goal of every Tasmanian Primary School having received a Beach to Bush Session within the next 3 years. Beach to Bush targets the states youngest at-risk group as it has been determined that the best way to help keep children safe at the beach was to take the lessons to them. A growing team Surf Lifesavers from surf clubs all around the state will share their knowledge and years of expertise and experience with their communities through Surf Life Saving Tasmania’s (SLST) various Community Education Programs and Lifeguard Services between now and Easter. Last year, SLST reached over 50,000 people through such programs, 18,000 being youth. To this day the program remains one of the largest and most innovative community awareness initiatives in Australia, having directly reached more nearly 300,000 school children since its inception over 25 years ago.

Throughout the Beach to Bush program, students will be getting some safety tips from our lifesavers before they hit the beach with their families this summer. Although there will be some light-hearted moments during the day, it’s important not to forget that lessons are also driven by a serious side. Staying safe in and around the water this summer. As COVID-19 has meant more Tasmanian’s will be holidaying at home, we are prepared for more to be taking to our shores and enjoying the wonderful waterways that our amazing state has to offer.

SLST Training and Community Programs Manager Leanne Johannesen said; “It’s exciting to be launching our Beach to Bush program for another year and to be able to take our messages about beach safety on the road and reach more people than ever before. Beach to Bush is a really unique program in its delivery and the way we can educate so many children at the one time. In Tasmania, with over 1,200 assessable beaches there to be enjoyed, it’s our role as Surf Life Saving to equipped our youngsters and families with some basic skills, information and knowledge to protect themselves and others with in the water. It’s no secret that Tasmanians love the water be it rivers, lakes, dams and creeks. Surf Life Saving Tasmania aims to break down the perceptions that water is unsafe, and instead educate all Tasmanians of its benefits and how to stay safe and have fun in all aquatic environments this Summer.”

 “Surf Life Saving Tasmania continues to work towards our goal of safer Tasmanian waters and zero preventable drowning with a focus on prevention through providing lifesaving services and education programs”.  

For Media Opportunities and further information, please contact:

Leanne Johannesen | Training & Community Programs Manager

M: 6216 7800 Option 1 

E: ljohannesen@slst.asn.au


Joint media release with Surf Life Saving Australia and Royal Life Saving Australia | 8th September 2021

New research by Australia’s leading water safety authorities Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) and Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) has revealed a spike in drowning deaths in the past 12 months, with unfamiliar locations, exhaustion, and interruptions to regular swimming during the COVID-19 pandemic considered key factors.

In the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2021 and Surf Life Saving National Coastal Safety Report 2021 released today, there were 294 drowning deaths in the past 12 months across Australia’s coastline, inland waterways and pools, which is 20% higher than last year (245).

Two key trends emerged – spikes in drowning deaths immediately following large-scale lockdowns: and more Australians holidaying domestically and swimming in unfamiliar (and often unpatrolled) locations. Alarmingly men were once again overrepresented in the drowning statistics, accounting for 80%, with alcohol and drugs, risk taking behaviour and over-estimating their ability considered key factors.

View full media release here.

View National Coastal Safety Report here.


Boyd Griggs | Operations Manager, Surf Life Saving Tasmania | E: bgriggs@slst.asn.au | M: 0437 099 973

COVID-19 Vaccination Position Statement

From Surf Life Saving Australia | 3rd September 2021

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and its member organisations involve people from all states and territories, with the mission to save lives, create great Australians and build better communities.

We deliver a safe environment in Surf Life Saving and want to ensure that we continue to play our role in keeping lifesavers and the community safe during this pandemic.

Vaccinations save lives, and we strongly encourage all our members and employees who can get vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so for the benefit of each other, for those who visit our coastline, and for the wider community.

To check the eligibility and availability of the COVID-19 vaccines, please visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au or contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738

For more information about how to protect yourself, your family and the community, information on vaccinations as well as the current COVID-19 status across the country, please click here and check your relevant state/territory health agencies for further advice.


Tony Van Den Enden | CEO, Surf Life Saving Tasmania | P: 6216 7800 | E: tvandenenden@slst.as.na.u

Tasmanian Department of Health | W: www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au

Public Health Hotline | P: 1800 671 738

Vaccination Information | www.health.gov.au



3rd September 2021 

 Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) exists to save lives, create great Australians and build better communities and as the 2021/22 patrolling and summer season approaches, SLSA is encouraging members of the public across the country to join their local surf club. 

SLSA, Australia’s largest volunteer movement with over 181,000 members across 315 clubs nationwide, is launching a recruitment drive ahead of the start of the new season highlighting the value and benefit of surf lifesaving clubs to the community, and also the individuals involved. 

“It has never been more important or easier to join your local surf club,” said SLSA President John Baker ESM. “Surf clubs around the country are more than just a building or a service, they’re a home, a family, and we are asking all Australians to join us and make it ‘your club’ too. There is a place for everyone at the surf club and everyone is welcome.” 

Whether it’s at the beach, through bushfires, floods or the COVID-19 pandemic, surf lifesavers and Surf Life Saving Clubs continue to be at the heart of communities offering emergency services, respite and support, all with a friendly sense of belonging and community spirit. 

The Deloitte Access Economics 2020 report on ‘The Social and Economic Value of Surf Life Saving Australia’ highlighted that 90% of Surf Life Saving Club members said that being a part of their club assists them to positively contribute to their community while over 80% of members said that Surf Life Saving gave them a sense of purpose and belonging in their life. 

Research conducted by Volunteering Australia from the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia (April 2020 to April 2021) found that those who were able to volunteer through the pandemic reported a significantly and substantially smaller decline in life satisfaction for those volunteers who did not stop volunteering, compared to those who stopped, or who never volunteered in the first place. 

For those who continued volunteering, levels of psychological distress were also substantially lower than those who stopped volunteering, and those who had never volunteered. 

“We know that volunteering gives people a purpose and it has been proven to increase physical and mental wellness in everyday life, especially through the challenges of the past 18 months due to COVID-19,” said Baker ESM. 

“In light of this we are actively encouraging new and returning members to join our clubs, to find that sense of purpose and belonging whilst at the same time helping the wider community ... our club is your club.” 

Surf Clubs around the country are at the heart of local communities and offer a variety of roles both on and away from the beach or they can simply be a place to gather, create new friendships and support individual and community wellbeing. 

For more information on how to join your local Surf Life Saving Club click here – www.sls.com.au/join 

To view the SLSA recruitment campaign video that was developed in conjunction with all states and territories please click here. 

- ENDS - 


Tony Van Den Enden | CEO, Surf Life Saving Tasmania | E: tvandenenden@slst.asn.au | M: 0417 338 706 


All other media enquires, please contact our office on 03 6216 7800 or at slst@slst.asn.au

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