Summer is here and Surf Life Saving is dedicated to saving more lives on the sand and in the surf, with the help of all Australians.

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) launched a new national community awareness campaign on Sunday to mark the first day of summer, as well as the recent Surf Safe appeal.

The campaign is fronted by Ironman legend Trevor Hendy who is calling on all Australians to understand the importance of community support for the Surf Life Saving movement, which provides a valuable service to millions of people each year on and off the beach at no cost.

“Our lifesavers and lifeguards help to save almost 12,000 lives every year but we are not a hospital – we teach over 500,000 kids each year but we’re not a school.

“Since its beginnings in 1907, the Surf Life Saving movement has saved over 615,000 lives on Australian beaches but Surf Life Saving can’t survive alone and relies heavily on the support of the community, through donations,” he says.

The new campaign demonstrates the breadth of Surf Life Saving services which include coastline patrols, education and training, search and rescue services, and on-water surveillance.

The summer safety messaging from Surf Life Saving Australia is to respect the water and know your limitations.

Surf Life Saving Australia National Coastal Manager Anthony Bradstreet, says that although Australian beaches look amazing, they can be unpredictable and hide some dangers, such as rip currents.

He says everyone needs to respect all aquatic environments and anyone going the beach should stay safe and always swim between the red and yellow flags, because if you can’t be seen, you can’t be saved.

“Funds donated ensure the continuation of these services and provide essential lifesaving equipment,” he says.

There are more than 100 million beach visitations each year in Australia and experienced volunteer surf lifesavers and paid lifeguards watch over these visitors to ensure their time at the beach is as safe and enjoyable as possible.

During the patrol season between 2012 and 2013, surf lifesavers and Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) lifeguards performed approximately 12,000 rescues, 1 million preventative actions and more than 64,000 first aid treatments on beaches around Australia.

Donations can be made to Surf Life Saving online or by calling 1800 642 925. All funds raised through the summer campaign will be managed through The Surf Life Saving Foundation.

Do you visit the beach often in summer? Do you always swim between the flags?