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Virgin Blue Helping to Increase Surf Safety

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Virgin Blue is to take surf safety messages to the sky following a number of drowning tragedies across Australian beaches.

 The airline has joined forces with Surf Life Saving to drive home some key messages on domestic flights for those visiting Aussie beaches.

The first phase will be launched this month and will involve using the carrier's in-flight seatback TV screens to highlight the "Swim Between the Red and Yellow Flags" message via a simple still TV advertisement. It will then be stepped up another notch in June when the airline will feature a tailor made commercial aimed at highlighting the risks associated with swimming at unsupervised beaches.

The 30 second TVC will feature three representatives from both the volunteer and paid ranks of Lifesaving and Lifeguard services that visitors to Australian beaches may encounter, and is designed to ensure that everyone can easily recognise the safest place to swim and who to look for in the event they need advice or assistance.

Virgin Blue will screen the TV commercials as a community announcement across its entire domestic network just prior to landing, targeting would be swimmers at world famous beaches all around Australia from Broome to Ballina to Burleigh Heads and Bondi. It will be shown across every single of the airline's approximately 400 daily flights across all destinations, including those that aren't coastal, just to act as a reminder.

Chief Executive, John Borghetti, said, "Australia is very much the lucky country in many ways and our beautiful beaches are a spectacular draw card. As an airline flying to many popular coastal destinations, we are keen to play our part in highlighting the importance of beach safety."

More than 94 coastal drownings occurred in the 2008-2009 season, with almost 70% of them occurring at a beach. No-one drowned when swimming between the red and yellow flags. Surf Life Saving Australia is urging people to heed the advice to treat the sea with respect and always swim between the red and yellow flags.

SLSA Group General Manager Michael Hornby said, "It's a very simple and clear message but often one that is ignored by those who choose to flout the advice and take on the unpredictable surf without the support of surf lifesavers and lifeguards that are trained to do just that ... save lives. We are delighted that Virgin Blue has come on board to help us spread the 'swim between the red and yellow flags message and are hopeful it will translate to a safer 2010/2011 summer season as well as serve as a reminder during the winter months to be cautious when all beaches arent patrolled."

The national in-flight campaign initiative came about from support from Virgin Blue's own team members (some who are volunteer surf lifesavers) as well as the inflight entertainment team who identified the surf safety message as being most appropriate for a majority Australian owned airline.

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