Lifesavers urge commonsense

SURF lifesavers and lifeguards are asking members of the public to use their commonsense when at the beach or using our waterways over the New Year period, in an effort to combat the number of after hours call-outs to rescue people acting irresponsibly in the surf.

Each year hundreds of people under the effects of alcohol or drugs take to the water, many after dark, and get themselves into potentially grave danger.

Craig Roberts, Surf Life Saving NSW manger of life saving services, says that people need to stay smart when celebrating while also looking out for their friends and family.

“While drug use and excessive alcohol consumption is not condoned by Surf Life Saving, they are indeed characteristics of New Year's celebrations which often have hazardous consequences,” Mr Roberts said.

“Combining these factors with swimming in the surf, particularly after dark, adds up to an extremely dangerous situation which we're urging the public to avoid this New Year's Eve.”

Surf lifesavers often have to deal with the outcome of the night before on New Year's Day, and are encouraging members of the public to look after themselves if they take to the beach on the first day of 2009. Another timely warning is being issued to parents of small children, after an off duty lifesaver rescued a toddler from the water at an unpatrolled beach on the South Coast on Sunday.

“Parents should always keep an eye on their children when they're in the water,” Mr Roberts said.

Swimming at an unpatrolled beach increases the risks. The public can always approach lifesavers if they're unsure about conditions.



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