Timely warning for swimmers
IF you don't swim between the flags on Coffs Coast beaches this summer, you're looking for trouble.
That's the message from Coffs Harbour City Council's senior lifeguard Sonny Tisdell, who said an incident on Diggers Beach last week, when a swimmer got into difficulty, served as a timely warning.
Two people helped the woman to safety.
"The golden rule of beach safety is always to swim between the flags on patrolled beaches," Mr Tisdell said.
"At this time of year, before the main summer season, we have two beaches that are currently patrolled mid-week ? Park Beach and Sawtell.
"These will now be patrolled by council's lifeguards from 9am until 5pm during the week.
"On weekends, the volunteers of the surf lifesaving clubs patrol Sawtell, Park Beach, Woolgoolga and Red Rock."
From December 22, council lifeguards will patrol Diggers, Red Rock, Corindi, Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Park Beach every day.
From December 27, the beaches at Emerald and at the Darlington/Lorikeet caravan parks will join the list, while Sapphire gets a lifeguard service on weekends from December 30.
"Council's lifeguards work hard on community beach safety education campaigns to inform people of the potential dangers they face while swimming or taking part in other beach water sports," Mr Tisdell said.
"These programs are proving very popular, but it's not just locals with safety skills who use beaches, so we'd urge anyone planning on using the beach to obey the safety rules."
Council lifeguards say never:
swim alone or surf at beaches not patrolled by lifeguards or life- savers;
bathe outside the red and yellow flags that mark safe swimming areas;
bathe directly after a meal or under the influence of alcohol;
bathe when the beach is closed;
bathe when there are no safety flags in position;
panic if caught in a current or undertow, but raise one arm straight up and float until help ar- rives;
struggle if seized with a cramp, but raise one arm for help, float and keep the affected part of the body perfectly still;
bathe if unsure of safe conditions. Seek the advice of the near- est lifeguard;
struggle against a rip or cur- rent, but swim diagonally across it.