The Gold Coast’s tech-savvy lifesavers

Technology is reaching into all areas of life and is now being embraced by surf lifesavers, to help protect beachgoers and even save lives.

Technology is reaching into all areas of life and now is being embraced by surf lifesavers to help protect beachgoers.

When the Surf Life Saving Queensland season began on September 17, so did a new era of using technology to help save lives. Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is issuing tablet computers to clubs along the coast, so volunteers can share important information on beach conditions.

Speaking to the ABC,  SLSQ president Mark Fife said the new technology was a big move for the organisation.

“Members will be able to put information straight into the tablet, which will go back to headquarters,” he said. “Instead of trying to collate everything together, it will be right there on the screen for them.”

Volunteers will be able to use the tablets, in protective cases, to sign on and off, update weather and surf conditions, and report major incidents as they happen. Extra resources, including personnel, surf skis, jet boats and helicopters, can be called in to help as incidents develop.

This follows testing earlier in the year of the SeaBob scooters. The motorised water scooters give lifesavers the ability to zip through waves and dive to the ocean floor. The SeaBob scooters can reach speeds of up to 20km/h and dive up to five metres, so if a swimmer goes missing, a lifesaver can quickly put on a mask and travel along the seabed looking for them.

It’s a long way from the days when a lifesaver would attach a rope to their waist then swim out to rescue a person in distress.

Image credit: Surf Lifesaving Queensland via ABC News.