Think before you swim
THE beach is definitely the place to be at this time of year, but put your thinking cap on before you hit the water.
That's the message from Coffs Harbour City Council's lifeguards, who are well into their patrols for the 2008/2009 season.
Lifeguard co-ordinator Greg Hackfath said the 'no flags, no swim' motto was an important one to remember.
He said bathers should only swim at patrolled beaches and should stick to the flagged area, and they also needed to recognise their own abilities in the surf.
The unsung heroes of our beaches, surfboard riders, were people you could count on in an emergency.
“I keep saying it. Surfboard riders rescue more people than council lifeguards and surf lifesaving club volunteers put together, simply because board riders are everywhere,” Mr Hackfath said.
“They are in places where there are no flags. We need more surfboard riders as lifeguards.”
As recently as Tuesday morning, a surfer rescued a soccer player from a rip at Diggers Beach about an hour before the lifeguard patrol started.
“He kicked a ball into the water and was sucked out in the rip,” Mr Hackfath said.
It had been a case of 'so far, so good' for the start of the season, with good weather and slight seas prevailing.
“Most people are doing the right thing and swimming in the right spot, but you do get the odd ones who aren't.”
Lifeguards are patrolling Park Beach and Sawtell Beach from Mondays to Fridays until the season ends in April, and will patrol other beaches throughout the season. Surf club lifesavers have their patrols at weekends.
For more information about the activities of our lifeguards and beach patrols, visit www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au.