Australian lifesavers volunteer more than one million hours each beach season. Now they’re asking beachgoers for one simple thing.
In the new Adopt an Hour ad campaign, patrons are urged to consider making a donation in recognition of the 1.4 million hours surf lifesaving volunteers dedicate on patrol each season to keep people safe at the beach.
It comes after 125 people drowned in Australian coastal waters in the 2019-20 season, of which 86 per cent were men.
There are more than 180,000 volunteers at 314 clubs across the country, making Surf Life Saving the largest volunteer movement of its kind in the country.
Surf Life Saving Foundation CEO John Brennan OAM said the Adopt an Hour campaign compared the 1.4 million hours that volunteers dedicated each season with the seconds it took for someone to get into trouble or drown.
“Ahead of this summer, we’re asking the public ‘what’s an hour of safety worth to you and your family?’ Mr Brennan said.
“Our volunteer surf lifesavers dedicate over 1.4 million hours each year on patrol to keeping our beaches safe and are there for the public in the longest few moments of their life.
“We’re asking the public to consider donating $1 for every hour … so that when you need them the most, they’re there to help.”
The campaign also targets young men who are the most at risk of drowning, with “bravado” blamed for their over-representation in beach drowning deaths.
SLSA general manager coastal safety Shane Daw ESM said the ad campaign featuring a male drowning victim was designed to highlight that males continued to be over-represented in drowning data year after year.
“Over the last 16 years we know that young males have become the major group who is at risk and involved in drowning incidents,” he said.
“We know that with young males there is a little bit of bravado, there’s a little bit of risk taking – a lot of it isn’t deliberate, we get into positions that we don’t realise can cause us harm.”
SLSA has a $1.4 million target, and beachgoers can donate via adoptanhour.com.au.
Police have charged a man over an alleged neighbour dispute that left a man dead on the Gold Coast, sparked by an argument over bird feeding.
Police allege a 60-year-old man, identified as Bradley Ward, died after he was knocked to the ground, repeatedly kicked and hit with a broom handle following an argument police say escalated into a fight at 5.15am on Wednesday morning.
Mr Ward managed to stand up and walk a short distance before collapsing at 5.40am. Despite paramedics attempts to save the man, he was declared deceased at the scene.
Police confirmed they were investigating whether an ongoing dispute over Mr Ward’s feeding of wild birds was the reason for the dispute.
A 48-year-old Biggera Waters man has been charged with one count of manslaughter and one of serious assault and will appear in Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday.
The Courier Mail is reporting the serious assault charge relates to Mr Ward’s 82-year-old mother, who was allegedly pushed as she tried to intervene.
Police will allege Mr Ward was repeatedly kicked as he lay on the ground and hit with a broom handle after an early morning confrontation with his neighbour.
Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn from the Gold Coast Criminal Investigation Branch earlier said the deceased and the man being questioned were neighbours.
When asked if the alleged altercation could have been triggered by a dispute over bird feeding, he said it was “one of the theories we’re investigating.”
“It appears there has been an ongoing dispute between the two of them, that has progressed to some sort of physical confrontation,” Det Ahearn told reporters on Wednesday.
“Disputes of this nature can be complex.”
Det Ahearn said police were still speaking to witnesses and getting an exact version of events.
“We do know the deceased was leaving his house and the other gentleman was outside … There’s been some sort of discussion which became a dispute and escalated into a physical altercation,” he alleged.
A passing taxi driver stopped outside the house to intervene, and police say he could have been injured as part of the exchange.
“He stopped the fight,” Det Ahearn said.
While no charges have yet been laid, Det Ahearn said early indications suggested the 48-year-old had allegedly used a broom handle as part of the fight.
“It’s very concerning to see this,” he said.
“We see from time to time a neighbours dispute escalating into something more … On the face of it, it seems what’s happened here.”