Surf Life Saving NSW's Project Blueprint is aimed at reducing drowning deaths over the next decade.
Surf Life Saving NSW's Project Blueprint is aimed at reducing drowning deaths over the next decade. Warren Lynam

Bid to cut coastal drowning deaths

THE ever-present risk when enjoying a coastal life will be in the spotlight when Surf Life Saving NSW's Project Blueprint starts assessing Bellingen and Nambucca locally as well as Clarence and Richmond to our north.

The project is a state-wide public safety risk assessment that aims to reduce the number of coastal drownings by examining every beach and rock platform.

The Coffs Harbour area report was handed down in February last year.

SLSNSW coastal risk manager Adam Weir said that despite the size of the project, the information gathered helped with the formulation of strategies to reduce coastal tragedies.

"Each year, many lives are lost along our coastline, leaving families devastated and communities in shock. Our goal is to help the State achieve its goal of a reduction in drowning deaths over the next decade," Mr Weir said.

More than 350 people have drowned in NSW since 2004, the vast majority are people caught in rip currents while swimming, or swept from rocks while fishing and almost all occur at unpatrolled locations or outside patrol hours.

Bellingen Shire mayor Mark Troy said the project had potential for a huge impact for safety on local beaches.

"Bellingen Shire is home to some of the most scenic beaches and waterways in the state," Cr Troy said.

"Project Blueprint is a fantastic initiative aimed at identifying any foreseeable risks and hazards along our area's coastline as well as implementable safety mitigation measures."

Over the four years of the project it aims to cover a coastline which includes 600km of rocky coastline and 990km of sandy coastline.

An estimated 892 locations will be assessed as part of the project.

Public consultation forums will be held at Nambucca Entertainment Centre in Ridge St on Saturday, July 26 from 11am-12.30pm and at Bellingen Senior Citizens Centre in Hyde St on the same day from 2-3.30pm.

Click here for more information.



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