How our patrol and support vehicles are keeping you safe
Over the last 12 months, the Surf Life Saving (SLS) Isuzu D-MAX and MU-X surf rescue and patrol vehicles have proven themselves as the dependable, capable and versatile tools our surf lifesavers need to help keep our beaches safe. There is no denying it.
But what exactly does a typical day for these surf rescue and patrol vehicles look like? Well, let’s take a closer look at how our surf lifesavers depend on these every day.
To date, there are now over 50 D-MAX & MU-Xs patrolling our beaches and assisting with delivery of important training and education in communities across the country, thanks to the support of our Major National Partner, Isuzu UTE Australia (IUA). From the beginning, it was clear these vehicles needed to be fit for purpose, so that our surf lifesavers had the dependable and durable tools they could rely on.
As such, each of these patrol vehicles were kitted out with the surf rescue and lifesaving equipment our surf lifesavers would need to save a life at a moment’s notice. Travelling anywhere between 20km to 100km per day, these vehicles not only give our surf lifesavers the flexibility to deploy the vehicles where they are needed, but they also house all of our lifesaving equipment and allow them to tow an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) or a Rescue Water Craft (RWC) – courtesy of their towing capabilities of up to 3.5-tonnes.
A typical day for our surf patrol vehicles, first and foremost, involves getting the vehicles onto the beach – ready to patrol throughout the day ahead. After turning on the warning lights, the next step will be to switch the vehicle into 4WD, using the ‘Terrain Command Dial’ that comes standard in all 4x4 D-MAX and MU-Xs. Depending on the type of work on the agenda and the conditions of the beach that day, our surf lifesavers will switch into either 4WD high-range or low-range. If the sand is hard and the vehicles are carrying light loads, then generally 4WD high-range will be used. However, on some days where the sand is a bit softer and there is a bit more weight on the back – such as an IRB or RWC - 4WD low-range is often the one for the job! The beauty about these Isuzu vehicles is that our surf lifesavers have the option to use whichever range they require that day, based on the environmental conditions and work being conducted at that time.
Not only that, but they have the space, the payload and the roof payload capacity to carry everything a surf lifesaver needs to put in preventative measures or save a life, if it comes to that. When you see a Surf Life Saving-branded patrol vehicle, you’ll often see that the racks atop the cabin of the vehicle help us carry rescue boards and spinal boards for emergencies. There are also roof-mounted warning lights, which are linked with the hazard lights – ensuring it is visible at all times when moving along the beach. Communication is also vital, so each patrol vehicle is fitted with radio units for our surf lifesavers to contact SLS SurfCom systems. Everything else we may need for a recovery and to keep our surf lifesavers safe as well, including first aid packs, oxygen resuscitation kits, defibrillator, rescue tubes, swim fins, lifejackets and wetsuits, are stowed in the back. This also includes those preventative measures like warning signs, as well as other packs to be used in emergencies such as marker buoys and sea dye.
Put simply, it goes without saying that these patrol and support vehicles are a necessary part of daily surf lifesaving operations to help us keep Australian beaches safe – being on hand to deliver the vital equipment needed to save someone’s life at a moment’s notice.
For more on the Isuzu D-MAX Ute or the MU-X SUV and our partnership with Isuzu UTE Australia, visit www.isuzuute.com.au/surf-life-saving-australia.