Surf Life Saving Australia

Rosebery, Australia

Surf Life Saving Australia

Rosebery, Australia
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Kennedy D.M.,University of Melbourne | Sherker S.,Surf Life Saving Australia | Brighton B.,University of Melbourne | Weir A.,Surf Life Saving Australia | Woodroffe C.D.,University of Wollongong
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

The coast is an environment enjoyed by people around the world, yet it is also hazardous, accounting for innumerable fatalities each year. The management of day-to-day hazards is an ongoing challenge for managers because the risk of a person drowning is the result of a combination of the number of people on the shore, their vulnerability, and the wave processes occurring at any one time. As it is nearly impossible to reduce the magnitude of waves or the number of people visiting the shore, managers often rely on strategies to reduce visitor vulnerability such as the provision of lifeguards. Education is also seen as key to reducing people's vulnerability by increasing awareness of the hazards. For beaches, morphodynamic models are used to provide a hazard rating for such landforms and this has been very successful in reducing drownings on sandy coasts. However, on adjacent rocky coasts there has been an increase in fatalities, particularly amongst rock fishers. Fatalities occur particularly on the edge of rocky ledges, termed shore platforms, found at the foot of cliffs when people are washed into the sea by waves. Rocky coasts are currently not incorporated in the existing shoreline risk assessments and their exclusion is a major gap in coastal management especially because, unlike beach users, people recreating on the rocky coast are often unprepared for entering the water and swimming. This paper explores the underlying principles of the beach safety models and develops a hazard framework for rock coasts which is tested on microtidal shore platforms of Australia and New Zealand. The height and slope of shore platforms as well as their depth immediately offshore are identified as the key elements in determining how much wave energy can impact the platform and therefore be hazardous to people. The rocky coast hazard framework provides a simple and effective tool for the assessment of wave hazard exposure through combining platform elevation with the depth immediately offshore of the platform edge. This new framework provides managers with a rapid assessment tool for quantifying rocky coast hazards. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

News Article | December 9, 2016

The factual Australian TV show Bondi Rescue performs a valuable educational role in teaching people around the world about the dangers of rip currents and the importance of swimming between the flags, a global survey of viewers by UNSW scientists indicates. The popular series follows Waverley Council lifeguards at Bondi Beach in Sydney over the summer period as they perform about 5000 surf rescues and deal with other problems including shark scares, lost children, bluebottle stings, drunk beach-goers and thieves. Since it was first broadcast in 2006, the award-winning program has been watched by millions of people worldwide, many of whom are poor swimmers. "It is difficult to engage large numbers of the general public in any sort of formal beach safety campaign, and awareness of surf hazards remains poor," says UNSW Associate Professor Rob Brander. "Many beachgoers still choose not to obey key safety messages, such as swim between the flags. "The filming of Bondi Rescue on a famous Sydney beach provided us with a unique opportunity to find out whether a popular factual TV show could have a beneficial impact on people's behaviour and knowledge about the dangers of surf beaches," he says. The survey was carried out by UNSW Science research student Nicky Warton under the supervision of Associate Professor Brander, who is a renowned expert on rip currents and beach safety in Australia. Responses were received from people in 51 countries, with more than 60 per cent of those who filled in the survey living overseas. "Many people were also in the at-risk group for drowning in the surf because they said they were poor swimmers or rarely go to the beach," says Associate Professor Brander, of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. "This factual TV program may provide the only beach safety education they get. Our results show it is an effective, large-scale educational tool. It has improved knowledge and behaviour and, in terms of its reach, dwarfs programs like signs, brochures and posters about rips and flags. "However we also recommend it include more frequent dedicated information about beach safety and rip identification." Warton also analysed the content of seasons one to eight of Bondi Rescue, and found the majority of rip rescues occurred on fine, sunny days with small waves. "Males were rescued almost twice as often as females and more tourists - mostly from Asia and Europe - were rescued than Australians," she says. In 2015/2016, 130 coastal drownings occurred and more than 13000 rescues were performed on Australian beaches, according to Surf Life Saving Australia. Rip currents are responsible for 19 deaths on average each year and about 90 per cent of the beach rescues made by lifeguards.

News Article | November 18, 2016

On the 12th November Australia introduced a new national charity event at Manly Life Saving Club. The Waterline Challenge! Brainchild of three times childhood cancer survivor Julian Day. It is his way of giving back. Thanks to the generosity of the Manly Club and with the help of The Hon. Tony Abbott MP and our Ambassadors including Liesl Tesch AM, Matt Levy OAM, and Tony Bonner compering(Man from Snowy River) we made a fantastic start to help raise awareness for this national event. We even had whales breaching off the beach to get the morning off on a high note. This was captured on video along with the rest of the event, while also being broadcast on Facebook Live. Over the next 48 hours Australians took to the waterways and coastlines to raise money for 12 amazing charities. Swimming, walking, kayaking and even horse-riding! The aim for 2017 will be to cover the length of the coastline of Australia (52,000 kms!) with our collective efforts. Guy Leech explained what it is all about on Channel 7’s The Morning Show and Matt Levy OAM followed that up with an interview on The Daily Edition while our other Ambassadors spread the word on various radio shows and print media throughout the week. We align ourselves with World Kindness Day which takes place on the 13th November and their President Michael Lloyd White said a few words about this growing global movement now in 28 countries throughout the world. Our Twitter/Instagram campaign #makeasplash is getting some famous faces involved. Mr Abbott got into the spirit of it to get the ball rolling! Our SnapChat Geofilter proved popular too. One of our sponsors Newsmaker's Leila Henderson flew in especially to support our launch and we thank her, and our other recent major sponsor SEOfast for their generous involvement which will undoubtedly help Waterline grow to the next level. In future, alongside our charities, we will be raising funds for grants to improve water quality, marine conservation and environmental projects around Australia. Keep an eye on our website for updates and further information. This will include a free ‘app’ that will tot up the kms we all manage to cover over the Waterline Weekend and an opportunity to fund-raise throughout the year, alongside a game you won’t want to put down! This is a very Australian initiative and a great way for people to raise money for a charity of their choice whether it is Surf Life Saving Australia, Soldier On, Starlight Children's Foundation there is something for everyone to get behind. So TEAM UP AUSTRALIA, and get behind this so we can show the world what Aussies can do when we all pull together!

Brighton B.,Surf Life Saving Australia | Sherker S.,Surf Life Saving Australia | Brander R.,University of New South Wales | Thompson M.,Surf Life Saving Australia | Bradstreet A.,Surf Life Saving Australia
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science | Year: 2013

Rip currents are a common hazard to beachgoers found on many beaches around the world, but it has proven difficult to accurately quantify the actual number of rip current related drowning deaths in many regions and countries. Consequently, reported estimates of rip current drowning can fluctuate considerably and are often based on anecdotal evidence. This study aims to quantify the incidence of rip current related drowning deaths and rescues in Australia from 2004 to 2011. A retrospective search was undertaken for fatal and non-fatal rip-related drowning incidents from Australia's National Coronial Information System (NCIS), Surf Life Saving Australia's (SLSA, 2005-2011) SurfGuard Incident Report Database (IRD), and Media Monitors for the period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2011. In this time, rip currents were recorded as a factor in 142 fatalities of a total of 613 coastal drowning deaths (23.2%), an average of 21 per year. Rip currents were related to 44% of all beach-related drowning deaths and were involved in 57.4% of reported major rescues in Australian locations where rips occur. A comparison with international operational statistics over the same time period describes rip-related rescues as 53.7% of the total rescues in the US, 57.9% in the UK and 49.4% in New Zealand. The range 49-58% is much lower than 80-89% traditionally cited. The results reported are likely to underestimate the size of the rip current hazard, because we are limited by the completeness of data on rip-related events; however this is the most comprehensive estimate to date. Beach safety practitioners need improved data collection and standardized definitions across organisations. The collection of drowning data using consistent categories and the routine collection of rip current information will allow for more accurate global comparisons. © 2013 Author(s).

McCarroll R.J.,University of New South Wales | Brander R.W.,University of New South Wales | MacMahan J.H.,Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey | Turner I.L.,University of New South Wales | And 4 more authors.
Natural Hazards | Year: 2014

Rip currents are the primary hazard on surf beaches, and early studies described them as fast, shore-normal flows that extended seaward of the surf zone. Based on this traditional view, commonly promoted safety advice was to escape a rip current by swimming parallel to the beach. However, recent studies have shown dominant rip current re-circulation within the surf zone and have endorsed floating as an appropriate escape strategy. Here, a first quantitative assessment of the efficacy of various rip current escape strategies, with a focus on the underlying physical processes, is presented. A field study was conducted at Shelly Beach, NSW, Australia, measuring three rip currents (two open beaches, one topographic) over 3 days in varying wave conditions. Floating was found to be a longer duration, more variable escape strategy (t̄ = 3.8 min, σ = 2.4 min), than swimming parallel (t̄ = 2.2 min, σ = 1.0 min). Neither of the scenarios is 100 % foolproof, and both fail in some scenarios, making simplified safety recommendations difficult. Swim parallel failures are related to swimming against the alongshore current of the rip circulation. Float failures related to surf zone exits, with the highest exit rate occurring in the topographic rip. Float failures also occurred due to multiple re-circulations without the person attaining safe footing on the bar. The variable spatial and temporal behaviour of rip currents suggests that a single escape strategy safety message is inappropriate. Instead, a combined approach and scenario-specific safety advice should be considered by beach safety practitioners to promote to the public. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Harvey L.A.,University of New South Wales | Poulos R.G.,University of New South Wales | Sherker S.,Surf Life Saving Australia
Journal of Burn Care and Research | Year: 2013

In 2006, New South Wales (NSW) state legislation changed from requiring smoke alarms in new houses only to all houses. We evaluated the impact of this legislative change on residential fire injury and smoke alarm ownership characteristics. Residential fire injuries for 2002 to 2010 were identified from hospitalization data for all hospitals in NSW. Data relating to smoke alarm ownership and demographic factors were obtained from the NSW Population Health Survey. Negative binomial regression analysis was used to analyze trends over time. Prior to the introduction of universal legislation, hospitalization rates were increasing slightly; however, following the introduction of legislation, hospitalization rates decreased by an estimated 36.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.7-55.8) annually. Smoke alarm ownership increased from 73.3% (95% CI, 72.5-74.2) prelegislation to 93.6% (95% CI, 93.1-94.2) 18 months postlegislation. Thirty percent of households reported testing their alarms regularly. Speaking a language other than English (relative risks [RRs], 1.82; 95% CI, 1.44-2.99), allowing smoking in the home (RR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.31-2.27), and being part of the most disadvantaged socioeconomic group (RR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.14-1.91) remain major risk factors for nonownership. Broadening the scope of state legislation has had a positive impact on residential fire-related hospitalizations and smoke alarm ownership. However, it is of concern that the legislation has been the least effective in increasing smoke alarm ownership among non-English-speaking households, in households where smoking is allowed, in low socioeconomic households, and that a high proportion of householders do not test their smoke alarms regularly. Targeted campaigns are needed to reach these high-risk groups and to ensure that smoke alarms are functional. Copyright © 2013 by the American Burn Association.

Mitchell R.,University of New South Wales | Brighton B.,Surf Life Saving Australia | Sherker S.,Surf Life Saving Australia
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport | Year: 2013

Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of competition and training-based surf sport-related injury in Australia in the years 2003-2011. Design: A retrospective epidemiological review. Methods: Information on surf sport-related injuries was obtained from Surf Life Saving Australia's SurfGuard Incident Reporting Database during 1 January 2003 to 20 August 2011. Results: There were 2645 surf sport-related competition or training-related incidents. Males and females experienced similar proportions of injury by activity type, with older individuals experiencing a higher proportion of injuries during training than younger individuals. Minor first aid was required for 54.5% of the competition and 43.7% of the training-related incidents, with major first aid required in just over 10% of both incident types. Overall, inflatable rescue boats, beach flags, and surf boats were the most common activities performed at the time of the incident, with returning to shore and negotiating the break the most common possible contributing factors to surf boat incidents. Bruises/contusions, strains, inflammation/swelling, and sprains were the most common types of injuries that occurred during both competition and training. RICE - Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation - was the most common form of initial treatment for the injury during both competition and training. Conclusions: Participation in surf sports is not without risk of injury. Information from this study will inform injury prevention efforts for surf sport and act as a guide for future research in this area, and towards improved injury surveillance for surf sport-related injuries. © 2012 Sports Medicine Australia.

Shaw W.S.,University of New South Wales | Goff J.,University of New South Wales | Brander R.,University of New South Wales | Walton T.,University of New South Wales | And 2 more authors.
Applied Geography | Year: 2014

Rip currents are a major cause of drowning on surf beaches worldwide. This article highlights the efficacy of integrating physical and human geographical research approaches with the aim of improving our understanding of the problem presented by rip currents, to people. Coastal geomorphologists working in the field of rip current science have identified the need to bring social science research approaches to the rip current hazard. Geography is a discipline well placed for the task of collaboration between the sciences and social sciences. Although the discipline of geography generally operates along a divide between physical and human sciences more integrative approaches to research problems have begun to gain traction. This article provides an overview of the evolution of rip current science through engagement with physical, and more recently, social sciences. It also demonstrates the emergence of an iterative research process within our research collaboration. This provided unforetold opportunities of cooperation and integration that were revealed as part of the evolution of a highly specialised research endeavour. © 2014.

Brander R.,University of New South Wales | Dominey-Howes D.,University of Sydney | Champion C.,University of New South Wales | Del Vecchio O.,University of New South Wales | Brighton B.,Surf Life Saving Australia
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences | Year: 2013

Rip currents are strong, narrow offshore flows of water which occur on many of the world's beaches and represent a serious hazard to bathers. In Australia, rip currents account for an average of 21 confirmed human fatalities per year. Based on an analysis of the longest existing data records, rip currents account for more human fatalities in Australia on average each year than bushfires, floods, and cyclones combined. This finding raises important questions regarding the levels of attention placed on the low intensity, but high frequency rip current hazard in relation to high profile and episodic natural hazards. © Author(s) 2013.

Elrick-Barr C.,Coastal Zone Management Australia Pty Ltd | Kay R.,Coastal Zone Management Australia Pty Ltd | Farmer N.,Surf Life Saving Australia
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

The coastal zone of Australia is likely to experience significant impacts as a result of climate change in the course of this century, even if the efforts expected from the international community to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations eventuate. Importantly, without future reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases, impacts will increase. The impacts of climate change may include a heightening of weather event intensity and sea level rise, which in combination could have far reaching effects for coastal recreation, beach safety service provision and surf life saving facilities and services. In this respect, the potential impacts of climate change represent a significant challenge for Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA). Recognising the importance of this issue, SLSA undertook to develop a plan for adaptive action. This paper presents the outcomes of the resultant Climate Change Adaptation Road Map for SLSA. The Road Map represents an important for step for SLSA in their adaptive journey. © 2012 .

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