It has been a tough year for the state’s lifeguards and volunteer surf life savers, with the NSW coastal drowning toll sitting at 30 for the season. That is almost double what it was this time last year – and they don’t want it to get any tougher.
Surf Life Saving NSW has issued a strong warning to beachgoers and coastal holiday makers to observe surf safety warnings during the Easter school holiday period, pointing out that rip currents and rockfishing are still the main dangers along our coastline.
Life savers are also concerned the situation could become more hazardous, with the north coast predicted to experience surf conditions in the 2.5m range over the next few days. Life savers are hoping the surf conditions and expected warm weather don’t combine to create a deadly hazard on our beaches.
SLSNSW manager of lifesaving, Dean Storey, has emphasised the importance of swimming at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags, and for rock fishermen to exercise extreme caution in the coming few days.
‘Don’t put yourself or your family at risk these holidays. Take advantage of the many beaches that are patrolled by lifesaving services,’ said Storey. ‘A deceptively dangerous long period swell will also make rockfishing extremely hazardous over the next few days. Avoid fishing on exposed areas of coastline and always wear a lifejacket.’
Volunteer surf life savers will patrol on weekends and public holidays until 25 April. Weekday lifeguard patrols will continue on many beaches through till the end of the school holidays and a small number of metropolitan beaches will be patrolled through the winter.
For full details on which beaches are patrolled and patrol times (including over the winter months) go to www.beachsafe.org.au, which is also available as an iPhone app.
For Rusty’s update on the weekend’s surf conditions go to our Surf & Weather page.