Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Aaron Purchase: why surf lifesaving had to be firm on vaccinations

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Aaron Purchase: why surf lifesaving had to be firm on vaccinations


Aaron Purchase: the thinking behind surf lifesaving's move to mandate vaccinations

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COVID vaccinations: it’s one of those topics that everyone has a strong opinion on.

In the Surf Life Saving world there’s been plenty of debate in the past week after SLSQ announced that it would require all members over 16 years to be fully vaccinated by 31 March 2022 to continue to participate in activities.

The Queensland Government’s roadmap outlining the requirements/restrictions that will be in effect from the time the state reaches 80% of population fully vaccinated ensured that SLSQ needed to clearly define a position for all members.

The Roadmap already impacts our clubs with the requirement to be fully vaccinated to enter the Supporters clubs (restaurant/bar area).

In some cases, these spaces are shared for various purposes, such as member training when not open to the public.

The SLSQ Board also considered the fact that our members work in a frontline role on patrol and interact with the public by regularly providing first aid, carrying out rescues and potentially attempting resuscitation.

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In order to provide the safest possible environment for our members in all of these cases, the health advice clearly indicates vaccinations are the way to go.

SLSQ understands that there will be people that strongly disagree with the decision and that is their right.

As a public safety and community-orientated organisation, the health and safety of our members and the people they interact with it made it a logical choice to follow the health advice and ensure members are vaccinated.

In order to provide members the opportunity to fully consider their options and physically make time to go and get the vaccinations, if they choose to, it was determined to provide a longer lead time hence the date of 31 March 2022 was chosen.

Wet and wild weekend

Turning our attention to the beach conditions this weekend and, unfortunately, it isn’t looking good.

The forecast looks like the rain is set to continue with a 90% chance of showers on Saturday and 80% on Sunday.

If the rain wasn’t already making you think about what might be a better idea than the beach, then a strong south-easterly wind change coming through on Sunday will.

Saturday will see the northerly winds that we’ve had for the last few days continue, but the wind will increase to over the 20-knot mark on Sunday. These winds will make the surf very messy and choppy.

The south-easterly change will bring an increase in surf size, from around 0.5m on Saturday to around the 1m mark late on Sunday.

Maroochydore Beach will play host to this year’s Interbranch Championships with our best 13-17-year-old Sunshine Coast lifesavers taking on teams from the other five branches across the state.

Our team will be keen to reclaim the crown that was held for over a decade before South Coast branch were able to steal a win last year. Good luck team, do the Sunshine Coast proud!

Enjoy the weekend and if you’re heading to the beach make sure you of course only swim between the red and yellow flags!

Aaron Purchase is Surf Life Saving Queensland’s regional manager for the Sunshine Coast. His column in keeps the community informed of what’s happening on the beach and offers tips on how to stay safe.