Volunteer surf lifesavers from across the state will take down the red and yellow flags for the last time today, signifying the end of the NSW patrol season.
More than eight million people visited NSW beaches this season and regrettably 33 lives have been lost to drowning since July 1 last year.
Surf Life Saving NSW president Tony Haven says this figure, which is significantly higher than last year, would be even higher without the vigilance of surf lifesavers.
‘Our volunteer surf lifesavers have put in an extraordinary effort this season, they have rescued 7,608 people and contributed over 602,518 patrol hours,’ he said.
‘The Surf Rescue Emergency Response System has also saved countless lives at unpatrolled beaches and after-hours. Only days ago we recorded our thousandth callout since the system began operating in 2008.
‘We’ve rescued people from rip currents, from rock platforms and upturned boats, all because this system enables the rapid deployment of lifesavers and lifeguards to black-spot locations and after hours, following a call to Police.’
More than 20,500 volunteer surf lifesavers from 129 surf clubs patrolled more than 200 NSW beaches, from Fingal Heads at the mouth of the Tweed River, to Pambula Beach in the state’s far south since the start of the season on September 24 last year.
Despite the volunteer patrol season ending, there are beaches in NSW which will continue to be patrolled by council lifeguards. Go towww.beachsafe.org.au for more information on patrol locations and times.
During winter, Surf Life Saving NSW is urging people to educate themselves on how to avoid and escape from rip currents and all children should learn to swim. The coming months are also particularly risky for rock fishermen, and anglers are encouraged to wear a lifejacket