Sawtell volunteer life savers Renee Golden and Hayden Stewart.
Sawtell volunteer life savers Renee Golden and Hayden Stewart.

Don't lose sight of surf safety

COFFS Coast lifeguards and lifesavers are geared up for a bumper school holiday surf season – if and when the rain clears.

However they’ve already reported several rescues in the region and are appealing for your help to prevent tragedies.

Between Christmas Eve and the end of January last summer, nine people drowned on NSW beaches. Many of these deaths were due to rip currents.

“For people to lose their life in this manner during the festive season is a tragedy and a sombre reminder about the dangers people face when they go swimming,” said Dean Storey from Surf Life Saving NSW.

“Unfortunately a lot of people seem to think they’re bullet-proof when it comes to beach safety. This isn’t the case and, sadly, by the time people come to realise this it can often be too late.”

Until the end of January most volunteer surf lifesaver patrols have been increased on weekends and public holidays to cope with the greater demand over the summer school holiday period and lifeguards will continue to patrol selected beaches on weekdays.

While Mr Storey encouraged people to make the most of their time on the beach, he urged them to put safety first.

“The holiday period is a relaxed time of the year and people are understandably out to let their hair down and have a good time on the beach, but it’s important they don’t lose sight of surf safety in the process.

“The best way for people to stay safe on the beach this summer is to swim only at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.

“Some people don’t realise that the flagged areas of the beach are not only patrolled by trained lifeguards and lifesavers, they have also been identified as the safest places to swim.”

Download the new Beachsafe for iPhone app, which gives you access to patrol locations and hours and real-time weather and surf conditions anywhere along the coast this summer. Visit www.beachsafe.org.au for all beach safety information.



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