New app translates into saving lives

26 Sep 2013 3:31 PMJann Stuckey

Thursday, September 26, 2013 

The release of a Surf Life Saving Australia smart phone app which provides real time beach and water safety messages in 72 languages aims to save lives on Queensland beaches this summer.

The Beachsafe app lets users obtain beach safety information and conditions for more than 12,000 Australian beaches and will support the Queensland Government’s On the Same Wave initiative, a partnership with Surf Life Saving Queensland.

The app was launched at Southbank today by Queensland’s Multicultural Affairs Minister Glen Elmes and Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey.

“We are home to a culturally diverse community, with people from more than 220 different countries who speak more than 220 languages living in Queensland,” Mr Elmes said.

“Unfortunately, drowning victims in Australia include an over-representation of people from culturally diverse backgrounds who are considered a high-risk group by surf authorities.

“Last financial year, 6 of the 8 recorded drownings were of an international background, and all were male.

“The year before, there were 5 recorded preventable surf/beach related drownings in Queensland, and again all male.

“Understanding beach and surf conditions and following safe surfing techniques are pre-requisites to enjoying our great beach environment incident-free.

“The surf can be an unforgiving environment, and sometimes there are no second chances.”

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said with more than 20 million visitors travelling to Queensland each year, the app would provide an important service in keeping tourists safe.

“Queensland is famous for its beach culture and a lifestyle based around the water which attracts tourists to our state each year.  Being aware of potential dangers is key to avoiding them, and enjoying the beach safely,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The app is directed at people from non-English speaking backgrounds, but it also includes an English version to provide useful information for anyone planning a perfect day at the beach.

“This revamped app will allow users to access vital information about beaches close to them and make informed decisions about where they swim.”

The Beachsafe app is available for free for IOS and Android and can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.

[ENDS] 26 September 2013

Media Contacts: Peter McCarthy (Minister Elmes) 0408 835 548                         Andrew Burke (Minister Stuckey) 0439 291 238