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more people swimming between the flags, as more than 120 people continue to drown every year according to SLSA’s National Coastal Safety Report.

The new campaign ‘Give An F About The Flags’ is the new campaign featuring a cheeky approach designed to change behaviour.

With the start of summer officially arriving, surf lifesavers are preparing for another bumper season with record temperatures predicted.

Last summer, 100% of all drownings occurred outside of flags, with men accounting for 82% of all drownings.

Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Adam Weir said that every life lost is one too many and surf lifesavers want to see everyone return home to their loved ones.

“We all know the fun things people can do at the beach whether it’s frolicking with friends, freestyle swimming, playing some footy… but the people need to ‘give an f about the flags’ when going to the beach.

“The red and yellow flags mark the safest place for people to swim, with surf lifesavers and lifeguards keeping watch over beachgoers.

“Each year more than 120 people lose their lives along our coastline.  Every life lost is one too many and we want everyone who visits a beach to be safe.

“During the summer time is the busiest time on our beaches but it’s sadly when more than 70% of drownings occur.  Last summer, all those drownings occurred outside of the flags.

“So the message this summer is simple. Find a patrolled beach via the BeachSafe APP or beachsafe.org.au and swim between the flags,’ he said.

The new water safety campaign aims to tackle the issue of coastal drownings at the beach, featuring the cheeky approach designed to change behaviour, particularly among young males.

One young man throwing his weight behind the campaign is four time Nutri-Grain Ironman Champion Ali Day.

The 33 year old Ironman legend said: “Young blokes continue to take risks when visiting the beach and as a result, they are the group most at risk of drowning on our beaches.

“Surf lifesavers are there to keep everyone safe. We don’t want people taking risks, we want everyone to return home to their loved ones and enjoy the beaches safe.

“So listen to the advice of surf lifesavers this summer, find a patrolled beach and stay between the red and yellow flags,” he said.

Surf Life Saving’s ‘Give an F about the Flags’ campaign launches today nationally, including online, with the campaign to be rolled out nationally across TV, print, online and outdoor.

The campaign speaks directly the statistics released as part of the 2022-2023 National Coastal Safety Report released last week by SLSA that shows:

  • 125 drowning deaths occurred during the past 12 month
  • Men continue to be over represented, accounting for 82% of all drowning deaths in the past 12 months.
  • 50% of drowning deaths occurred to older adults (aged 55+ years)
  • 66% of drowning deaths happened more than 1 kilometre from a patrolled beach
  • Alarmingly, 31% of drowning deaths were nearby residents to the drowning location
  • Rip currents were involved in 22% of this years coastal drowning deaths
  • 5 million adults have been unintentionally caught in a rip current at some point in their life.
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