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Lifeguard has safety message ahead of holidays

STAY SAFE: Coffs Harbour City Council lifeguard Greg Hackfath urges beach goers to stay safe these school holidays.
STAY SAFE: Coffs Harbour City Council lifeguard Greg Hackfath urges beach goers to stay safe these school holidays. Trevor Veale

IN A bid to reduce rescue statistics on the coast, Coffs Harbour City Council lifeguard Greg Hackfath told swimmers they needed to heed simple advice.

With the school holidays just around the corner, Mr Hackfath expected the beaches to get busier and urged people to follow simple steps to avoid becoming another statistic.

He said Coffs Harbour City Council lifeguards performed 46 rescues last financial year but many could have been avoided.

"Out of those 46 rescues, all but one of those incidents were outside of the flags," Mr Hackfath said.

"It's a terrible statistic."

Mr Hackfath said conditions on the coast could change dramatically from day to day, with the change of swell direction.

While he said the sand banks were good at the moment it was still important beach goers were cautious in the water.

Most importantly, Mr Hackfath urged swimmers to stay between the patrolled flags.

If swimmers found themselves swimming at an un-patrolled beach Mr Hackfath said they should go out in the water with at least one flotation device, such as a surf or body board.

"Never attempt a rescue without a flotation device, it's too hard," he said.

Mr Hackfath also said swimmers should not swim at dawn or dusk and should avoid tidal river mouths.

For the most up-to-date beach conditions, Mr Hackfath urged swimmers to speak to the lifeguard on patrol.

In the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2016, it was reported 96 people people drowned in NSW over the 2015/16 financial year.

Beaches accounted for almost a third of drowning deaths (31%) in NSW. Beaches accounted for 23% of drownings country-wide.

NSW had the most drownings in the 2015/16 financial year followed by Queensland (66); Victoria (43); Western Australia (37); Northern Territory (14); South Australia (13); Tasmania (9); Australian Capital Territory (2).

Topics:  coffs harbour, coffs harbour lifeguards, drowning, greg hackfath, royal life saving national drowning report, safety, swimming



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