“He just went flat on his back with his arms out. He was pale, blue-faced, eyes rolled back in his head. In his eyes there was…just nothing. No sign of life.”

- Ian, volunteer Surf Life Saver watches on as beachgoer, Graham, fights a battle to save his life on Noosa Heads beach.

The next person we save could be you.

And you don’t even have to actually be in the water to need the help of our volunteer Surf Life Savers.

Like Graham, holidaying in Noosa Heads in Queensland, his heart failed on the beach early one morning.

Luckily for him, Noosa Heads Club Captain, Ian, and his team of volunteer Surf Life Savers were having a 5.30am exercise session and just happened to be outside on the sand.

(They’re normally inside at the gym so Graham was incredibly lucky this day.)

When Graham came out of the water, he was struggling, staggering. As the crew ran past him on the beach, one of the volunteer Surf Life Savers, a nurse, saw him fall flat on his back, hands flying high in the air, his phone flopping from his hand.

She took one look and knew. “He’s in trouble” she screamed in shock and disbelief. And he was. Graham was in serious trouble.

How would you feel if your loved one was lying helpless on the beach with no one to help - not even you?

Thanks to off-duty volunteer Surf Life Savers, Graham did have someone there to help him. Ian and his team were there, equipped and trained, ready to save his life.

Within seconds Ian had two volunteer Surf Life Savers performing CPR on Graham. He gave two younger girls of the team the job to call 000 and wait at the car park for the ambulance to arrive.

Ian ran to the clubhouse for the defibrillator that would hopefully kick-start Graham’s heart.

Within just 3 minutes, Ian gave Graham his first shock.

No response.

They continued CPR. Ian shocked Graham again.

Still, no response.

Graham had no heartbeat for 20 critical minutes.

Hope was fading.

Against all odds, Ian and his team didn’t give up – even when the ambulance arrived. It took 45 minutes – the longest of their lives. They shocked Graham again and again – 4 times in total.

Then finally, finally, there were signs of life. Graham had been saved.

I know how much your support means to volunteers like Ian and his team. Please help volunteer Surf Life Savers have the most updated first-aid training and lifesaving equipment; like inflatable rescue boats, defibrillators and oxygen resuscitation kits they need to respond quickly to saving lives in any situation.

donate now

Graham’s heart did in fact stop on the beach that day. Like other beachgoers in serious trouble, last year our volunteer Surf Life Savers rescued 8,606 people and took 320,314 preventative actions to help stop people getting in harm’s way on the beach.

Why is it so important that we get your help today?

When it comes to needing rescue boards to paddle out and save swimmers, or training volunteer Surf Life Savers in how to respond if someone has a heart attack, or handling someone who has sustained a neck injury after being dumped by a wave, we rely on gifts from kind supporters – who truly believe in what we do.

Your support is valuable. As Graham’s story shows, it does save lives.

Please remember, swim between the red and yellow flags – because if we can’t see you, we can’t save you!