Lucky: A man is helped by paramedics after he was rescued on Digger’s Beach.
Lucky: A man is helped by paramedics after he was rescued on Digger’s Beach. Emma Rhoades

Warning of a dangerous summer

DANGEROUS surf conditions have led to several near drownings on local beaches this week, with fatigued swimmers rescued in the nick of time.

The most serious incident saw a man treated by ambulance officers on Diggers Beach on Tuesday.

Just hours later surfers rescued a couple of holidaymakers on the same stretch of beach.

Then a woman was helped ashore after getting into trouble at Macauleys on Wednesday.

“Surf conditions are particularly bad for swimmers on our beaches at the moment,” Coffs Harbour City Council’s Head Life Guard Greg Hackfath said.

“There are a lot of heavy rips and deep gutters, but the main concern has been the easterly swell, which is seeing waves with almost vertical faces hitting the beaches.

“There is no rhyme or reason to easterly swells. The waves crash straight on to the beach and are unpredictable, breaking where ever there’s the least resistance from the water flowing back out to sea.

“Add to that the gutters, the solid rips and a lot of people holidaying in the region – and you have a bad mix – not the best conditions to mark the start of summer,” he said.

Mr Hackfath said it was important that bathers knew their swimming ability, kept both feet on the sand at all times and if taking a dip on an unpatrolled beach, to do so near surfers.

“The best message is the same one we roll out every summer ... swim between the red and yellow flags.

“In saying that people are always going to swim at unpatrolled beaches, so it’s important they stay within sight of surfers and to never swim alone,” he said.

“It should be remembered that board riders perform more rescues on beaches than life guards and life savers combined.”

Visitors to the coast should note that Park Beach and Sawtell Beach are patrolled daily between 9am and 5pm, while summer patrols are also set to commence on Woolgoolga’s main beach.

Lifesavers will be on guard at Diggers Beach from December 20, Darlington Park/Lorikeet from the 21st, Emerald Beach from the 27th, and Corindi and Red Rock beaches from December 29.

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