Reigning Nutri-Grain IronWoman Champion Georgia Miller and 2019 Coolangatta Gold winner Matt Bevilacqua will front a new Surf Life Saving Australia summer awareness campaign urging beachgoers to swim between the red and yellow flags.
Last season,122 people drowned on Australia’s coastline, with 42% of coastal deaths occurring during the summer period, 1 December – 28 February.
As surf lifesavers prepare for the start of summer this weekend, a new television commercial will be released reminding all beach goers of the importance of swimming between the red and yellow flags.
Surf Life Saving Australia’s General Manager Coastal Safety, Shane Daw, said the new television commercial is designed to demonstrate that even the most experienced need to be conscious of risks while swimming.
“The Australian public admire the elite Nutri-Grain IronMen and IronWomen for their strength, fierce determination and fantastic surf skills, but many don’t know they are also qualified volunteer surf lifesavers,” Daw said.
“They, alongside our over 40,000 plus volunteer patrolling surf lifesavers, give up their time to help make Australian beaches safe.
“Summer continues to be the busiest time on our beaches in terms of visitations and in recent years, it has also been the deadliest period. Even though the beaches will be busy over summer, there are plenty of patrolled locations which people can find at www.beachsafe.org.au,” he said.
Alarmingly men, young men in particular, are continually over-represented in the drowning statistics, something that shocked Nutri-Grain IronMan Matt Bevilacqua.
“It’s crazy to think that men represented 87% of the coastal drownings in 2019. So now more than ever I urge Australians to seek advice from surf lifesavers and lifeguards and swim between the red and yellow flags.
“It can take many years to hone skills to read and handle surf conditions, and my training as an IronMan has been essential in me being better prepared for the task of patrolling the beach and performing rescues,” said Bevilacqua.
Reigning Nutri-Grain IronWoman Champion Georgia Miller, who joins Bevilacqua in a new community service announcement launching today, says the power of the ocean should never be underestimated.
“Rip currents are very powerful and unpredictable, with most people not able to identify one, therefore the best place on the beach is definitely to swim between the red and yellow flags, under the supervision of qualified surf lifesavers and lifeguards,” said Miller.