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lifesavers and members of parliament.

Marking the start of summer, the Prime Minister acknowledged Surf Life Saving Australia members for their dedication to saving lives and their commitment to local communities.

“Every year around 180,000 people from around Australia give up 1.3 million hours to keep watch over our beaches,” Mr Morrison said.

“I want to say thank you very much, for everyone across the surf lifesaving movement… you keep Australians safe and you do it as one of the most wonderful traditions of our country through the surf lifesaving movement,” he said.

There were 122 coastal drowning deaths recorded last season. This season’s first quarter preliminary data has that number eight more than the same time last year. This is 11 above the 15-year average.

“As we come into summer, Australians gravitate to the coast. It’s part of our lifestyle. It’s who we are. It’s what we love,” Mr Morrison said.

“To those heading towards the beach this summer, as I certainly will, swim between the flags, familiarise yourself with the conditions, and make sure you take instructions from those wearing those red and yellow caps.

“They’re there for you to keep you safe. And so you do your job by keeping them safe, by following their instructions,” he said.

Life savers present were awarded Surf Life Australia’s National Rescue Medal (NRM) for outstanding rescues performed between July-October.

Members from Maroochydore (Qld), Kiama (NSW), Mona Vale (NSW), Palm Beach (NSW) and Elouera (NSW) were recognised for their brave and selfless actions.

The event also saw SLSA’s rip current campaign ‘Think Line’ relaunched for summer. ‘Think Line’ encourages swimmers to draw a line in the sand, to STOP, LOOK and PLAN, before entering the beach.

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