It is hard to imagine, but until the early 1900’s, it was illegal for people to swim at the beach. Until one day a man called William Gocher defied the laws and dove head first into the sparkling, refreshing waters off Manly Beach in broad daylight. While he was arrested for this public display of defiance, his rebellion started a movement which went on to define Australian Culture.
These days, 80% of the population lives within 50km of Australia’s pristine coast line with millions of people flocking to Australian Beaches throughout the year. While the water is refreshing and the sand is warm, a quick dip in the ocean can be lethal.
We do our best to educate people on the dangers of swimming in the ocean, but even if you get in to trouble, you can rely on a team of dedicated volunteers to come to the rescue. These brave people are Surf Lifesavers. Currently Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club has more than 500 Active Lifesavers who patrol our beach every weekend and public holiday during our surf season between September and May.
Rules to abide by when swimming at the Beach
- Swim between the red and yellow flags. They indicate the safest place on the beach to swim.
- Always swim at beaches patrolled by lifesavers or lifeguards. If we can’t see you, we can’t save you.
- Always swim with a friend. They can signal for assistance if you can’t.
- Read and obey the signs. They could save your life.
- Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver if you are unsure of surf conditions.
- Don’t swim under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
- Always check the depth of the water and never run or dive in the water. Sand banks and surf conditions change constantly.
- If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm and hold up and wave one arm to signal for help. Float and wait for assistance.
- Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide and Seek Shade.
- Learn how to spot a rip and keep clear of it. A rip can be recognised by sand coloured or rippled water running out to sea when the water on either side is generally cleaner. The waves may also be larger and breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip.
- Keep the beach clean, put your rubbish in a bin and keep off the dunes.