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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Watching the lifesavers watching you

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Following up on my previous letter in which I was critical of the performance of Byron Bay surf lifesavers, I was pleased to note that, on Sunday 22 April, of the ten lifesavers in attendance on Main Beach, four of them were actually spread out along the beach watching bathers.

Although they still only covered about 100 metres in the immediate vicinity of the flags, this is a welcome development. The next logical step would be for them to spread themselves out even further over more of the long beach, thus providing a proper lifesaving service for the frequently not very well informed out-of-town visitors to our beautiful seaside.

Lest we forget, the presence of lifesavers on our beaches does not come free. This year Byron Shire Council (that is we ratepayers) will contribute $175,000 for the privilege, and all I am asking is that the lifesavers justify this expense in a meaningful way.

Colin Thornton, Coorabell


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  1. Like most tourist hot spots, Byron Shire Council employs “lifeguards” who are paid to oversee beach safety, generally during the weekdays and the holiday periods. Councils Australia wide are saved substantial amounts by volunteer lifesavers who patrol the same stretches of beach when lifeguards are not on. Perhaps you should lob down to Byron when the next volunteer patrol season starts Col and see what and how much has to happen with a team working together to manage the “100 metres” so that it is a safe place for you and other beachgoers to swim. Oh … “and lest we forget” Col, imagine how impregnible our country would be if we just stretched our armed forces along the coast from one side of the country to the other…on my reckoning that would be approximately one soldier every 180 km’s…about as effective as spreading a patrol team from one end of Byron beach to the other and subsequently acting in isolation when a rescue is on. Ahh…the privilege… and the ignorance.


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