Hectic time for surf lifesavers
JAMIE Marschke, a veteran of the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club for three decades, says New Year's Day was the most "hectic" day on patrol he has ever faced.
On Saturday we reported on a rescue at North Wall, in which local mother Carly Simpson and her children swam to the aid of a teenager who was in strife and kept him afloat until a surf club "rubber duckie" arrived.
That day, Coffs Harbour clubbies conducted 10 rescues, while also responding to shark sightings and dealing with two medical emergencies.
The club's director of surf lifesaving, Rachael Smyth, said that on top of closing the beach because of three reports of a shark hanging about, volunteers also responded to an emergency where a person had a seizure in the surf club restaurant.
A beachgoer suffered a nasty fin chop to the head, and there was a series of rescues where people got caught in a strong rip at North Wall.
"I was not on duty, but stayed around to help with everything that was going on," Rachael said.
"When you have a day like we did last Thursday, which puts all our training to the test, you really recognise what we are there for."
She said it was great to see how everyone worked as a team as they responded to the emergency situations.
"I'm grateful that the day ended with positive outcomes," Rachael said.
She said its crucial people swim between the flags.
"If we can't see you then we can't save you," she said.
Since New Year's Eve, volunteer surf lifesavers have conducted 15 rescues in Coffs Harbour, two at Sawtell and two at Valla Beach.