Volume 20 Issue 1, 2005

Patrol Smart 7/52: Queensland’s integrated surf life saving program

Dr Jeff Wilks, Peter Dawes, Brett Williamson OAM

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is a community-based organisation with more than 26,000 active volunteer members patrolling 65 beaches on weekends from September to April each year. Additional patrol coverage is provided on 41 beaches at other times of the year, especially school holidays, by SLSQ professional lifeguards. These beach patrols are further strengthened by support services that include inflatable rescue boats (IRBs), rescue water craft, jet rescue boats and helicopters. However, despite the efforts of lifesavers, 17 people drowned in unpatrolled areas of the Queensland coastline during the 2001–2002 season. This prompted SLSQ to develop their Frontline First initiative, a repositioning strategy aimed at focusing the organisation’s collective energies and resources to support ‘frontline’ service delivery – the lifesavers – through building capacity and capability. A central element of Frontline First is the Patrol Smart 7/52 program that aims to provide a more integrated lifesaving service across the State. This paper describes the Patrol Smart 7/52 program, drawing on recent reviews to show how emergency services are managed.