The Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) will patrol Byron Bay’s Main Beach for the whole year, apart from weekends and public holidays during the volunteer lifesaving season, after successfully extending its lifeguard contract with Byron Shire Council.
The ALS currently employs up to 34 lifeguards across nine beaches throughout the shire at peak periods and has provided professional lifeguard services to Byron Shire Council for 27 years.
ALS (NSW) Coordinator Brent Manieri is delighted to be continuing the positive relationship with council into the future.
‘The Australian Lifeguard Service is pleased to have extended the contract with council to allow for lifeguards to patrol Byron’s Main Beach year round. Main Beach is one of the busiest beaches in the state and council is very proactive in the area of improving safety for all beachgoers and we look forward to continuing the positive relationship we’ve built with council.
‘Last year more than 840,000 people visited patrolled beaches in the Byron Shire and we are expecting another big year this year’, said Mr Manieri.
The expertise of the ALS was on clear display during last season and despite such a high beach attendance across the area, lifeguards performed just 57 major rescues, highlighting the proactive nature of lifeguards with a focus on preventative actions.
In another significant achievement, Byron Shire lifeguard, Steve Mills, was named the 2013/14 NSW Lifeguard of the Year.
Byron Mayor Simon Richardson said he was thrilled that Council could provide additional funding this year for the extended service.
‘Main Beach Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most visited beaches all year round. It’s a family favourite plus a draw card for young people from around the world.
‘Having Main Beach patrolled 365 days through a combination of professional and volunteer services, is a community service that is highly valued and appreciated’, he said.
As the leading lifeguard service in Australia, the ALS ensures a total service provision, integrating the Australian Lifeguard Service with Surf Life Saving’s volunteer patrol structure, state-wide support operations network, 24-hour emergency call-out system and strategically located Westpac Rescue Helicopter services.
Lifeguards are urging people to stay safe these school holidays by being aware of key surf safety messages:
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags
- Read the safety signs
- Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for safety advice
- Swim with a friend
- If you need help, stay calm and attract attention by raising your arm above your head
- Never enter the water if you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs
- Wear sunscreen, seek shade and stay hydrated
- If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero (000) – Police
- For information on Beach conditions or to find a patrolled beach near you, check out Beachsafe or download the mobile app.