This twenty cent coin was designed specially by the Royal Australian Mint to mark the centenary anniversary of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA). For over a century volunteer members of the association have given their time, energy, and skills in maintaining the safety of Australia's coastline. They teach children about beach safety and the dangers of the water, and patrol the beaches ready to assist if anyone gets into trouble both in and out of the water. Throughout its years of service SLSA has saved millions of lives and allowed Australia to safely develop its surf and sea culture. SLSA is Australia's authority in providing water safety, drowning prevention, and rescue services on the beaches. It is a volunteer organisation that is made up of 311 surf life saving clubs and has over 165,000 members. The majority are volunteers who patrol the coats whilst the organisation also contracts a lifeguard service to government and land owners. The work done by SLSA is integral to Australian lifestyle and has helped to shape the nation and its prominent surfing and watersport culture.
Before 1902 it was illegal for anyone to enter the ocean but as the law began to be increasingly challenged, it was overturned. As more and more people entered the waters, so too were there more and more drowning incidents due to inexperience in the water and unusual rip currents. As a result, volunteers began patrolling the beaches, and by 1906 the Bondi Beach Surf Bathing Association had been formed. (Wikipedia, 2013) Following the first club in Sydney, affiliated clubs began to pop up all over the country. The name changed in 1922 to Surf Life Saving Association and then again in 1991 to its existing name of Surf Life Saving Australia. As well as the adult volunteer members, the association also has a junior program of which members are called Nippers. This provides the opportunity to learn about beach safety and awareness in the water from a young age. Lifesaver volunteers have certificates ensuring their proficiency in swimming, first aid, and rescue techniques. The exam, which involves both theoretical and practical aspects, can be taken from the age of 15. Over 6 million people have been rescued by the SLSA since 1907, with over 10,000 rescues and 30,000 cases of first aid on average every year.
This twenty cent Year of the Lifesaver
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