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This young lifesaver rescued his own family from drowning

When teenager Colton Pleass spent a routine afternoon patrolling a Caloundra beach, he had no idea he would be called upon to rescue his own family.

Colton headed out into the rough surf in a $21,500 inflatable rescue boat, designed specifically for Surf Life Saving and funded by proceeds from Surf Life Saving Lotteries. With this essential piece of rescue equipment, he was able to bring his family to safety.

Surf lifesavers performed 10,879 rescues on Australian beaches in a one year.


“It was a bit of a shock,” he said upon realising his father, mother, and grandfather were the swimmers at risk. The trio had been competitive swimmers in their time. “They were pretty embarrassed to be rescued, but they were just fine!”

Surf Life Saving Foundation made it possible

Surf Life Saving is a community cause and it is easy to forget that surf lifesavers volunteer their time to patrol our beaches. This time is given freely and willingly, at no cost to the public. With over 100 million beach visitations every year, that’s a lot of effort from these dedicated lifesavers.

However, lifesaving equipment, training, community education programs, and the provision of support services costs money. Rescue gear and equipment represents the biggest single cost to running lifesaving services in Australia due to the ongoing maintenance and eventual replacement required to operate in the Australian sun, surf, and sand. Surf Life Saving Foundation’s mission is to contribute to the financial security and viability of the Surf Life Saving movement through their lotteries and other community fundraising activities.

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Your impact

Here’s how your support helps Surf Life Saving Foundation:

  • Patrol log book - $30.00
    Hard covered log book containing official template for recording all patrol operation details.
  • Red and yellow patrol flags - $55.00
    Used to indicate a section of beach that is currently patrolled by surf lifesavers.
  • Rescue tube - $120.00
    An effective and very widely used rescue device that allows a lifesaver to take flotation to a person in distress.
  • Spinal board - $495.00
    Essential for suspected spinal injuries and moving patients who are unable to walk.
  • Rescue board - $1,575.00
    The rescue board is designed for a lifesaver to perform a rescue and transfer the patient back into shore.