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.