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National coastal safety report 2014

Marine management Sport Water safety Australia

Contains a detailed analysis of the Australian coastal safety context for the period of 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014.


Australians have an affinity with our coastlines. We are drawn to them to participate in an ever-growing array of activities, and all too often people succumb to their hidden hazards. An estimated 100 million visitations occur on our coastlines annually. The coast is an inherently hazardous aquatic environment. Even in benign ocean conditions, the water poses a significant risk to the uninformed or unprepared visitor. Providing a reliable safety service to meet the community’s needs has been the role of Surf Life Saving for more than 100 years.

As the peak water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) aims to create great Australians, build better communities, and continue our primary mission of saving lives.

This National Coastal Safety Report 2014 contains a detailed analysis of the Australian coastal safety context for the period of 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014.

Now in its tenth edition, the National Coastal Safety Report 2014 for the first time provides a holistic perspective of SLSA’s approach to drowning prevention under the Total Service Plan and the National Safety Agenda.

While the report still incorporates analysis of coastal drownings, it recognises that drowning is only part of the analysis that guides good decision making for coastal safety.

The report provides contextual information on the Australian community and how they interact with the coast. This information is crucial to understanding how Surf Life Saving may need to adapt to continue servicing community needs.

The report also defines Surf Life Saving’s current capability and capacity. It details the services and resources, and their activities to prevent and respond to coastal and aquatic emergencies.

Finally, the report describes how Surf Life Saving employs our analysis to deliver evidence-based drowning prevention initiatives, including our Beach Drowning Blackspot Reduction Program. Case studies throughout the report demonstrate our commitment to using scarce resources to achieve the greatest reduction in drowning and the best return on investment for government, corporate partners and donors across the community, including our dedicated fundraisers, the Guardians of the Surf.

Despite the extensive network of lifesavers, lifeguards, support operations and allied emergency services deployed nationally, 84 people drowned. Every one of these lives lost is one too many. Surf Life Saving renews our commitment to the reduction of coastal drowning by 50% by 2020. This will only be achievable with a coordinated strategy requiring commitment, collaboration and a willingness to take evidence-based risks.

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