Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) will receive more than $9 million from the NSW Government to boost its rescue capabilities.

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said the funds will go towards operational costs and vital new lifesaving equipment in the 129 surf clubs over NSW.

“Millions of people visit our beaches each year and it is our number one priority to ensure the safety of swimmers when they hit the surf,” Mr Grant said.

“As a Government we are committed to improving water safety and reducing the number of preventable deaths in the water. This funding will help boost resources on our coastline.

“Last summer’s tragedies have highlighted that where there is water, there is danger. It is important we look out for one another and know our limits – too often people overestimate their ability and underestimate the conditions.”

All clubs will receive tablets to better record incidents, preventative actions and rescues through the Patrol App. In addition, the funding will contribute to the provision of RWCs (jet skis), radios, rescue boards, first aid kits and defibrillators for surf life saving clubs and support operations.

The SLSNSW Coastal Radio Network will continue to be upgraded from analogue to digital enhancing this vital link between surf lifesavers on the beach and other emergency service agencies. The upgrade will improve communications between volunteer lifesavers, lifeguards and the State Operations Centre when coordinating coastal search and rescue activities.

This package includes a $4 million Water Safety grant and a $5.1 million funding agreement between the SLSNSW and the State Government over three years.

The NSW Government has already allocated $11 million from 2016–2019 to fund other water safety projects across the sector to reduce the incidence of drowning across NSW.

This year, $1.2 million was invested in water safety initiatives targeting young children in pools, river safety, higher risk takers and the risks of swimming when consuming alcohol and drugs.

Acting CEO of SLSNSW Adam Weir thanked the NSW Government for supporting the state’s thousands of volunteer surf lifesavers.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to helping us continue to save lives along the NSW coast. Renewing this funding for another three years gives us the security to replace and provide new rescue equipment and continue to support our volunteers to save lives and meet the continually changing needs of the community.”