As Byron Bay gears up again for the annual Splendour in the Grass Festival this week, Surf Life Saving NSW is reminding people not to enter the water under the influence of alcohol and drugs or swim at an unpatrolled beach.
Byron Bay’s Main Beach is currently the only patrolled beach on the NSW Far North Coast.
Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service will be on duty each day at Byron Bay throughout the festival, and are happy to advise people on the local water conditions and how to enjoy the beach environment safely.
In the last fortnight there have been three major incidents, including a drowning, involving surfers and body boarders along the stretch of coastline between Byron Bay and Ballina.
Water users are being urged to take the time to assess the conditions and be aware of rip currents before entering the water.
Festival patrons looking to cool off are being encouraged to do so safely and to avoid swimming at unpatrolled beaches.
‘It’s really a simple message that we want to get across to everyone. Water, drugs and alcohol simply don’t mix’, says Far North Coast Emergency Services Coordinator Jimmy Keough in a pointed warning to the expected influx of visitors.
‘Dangerous situations both in the water and on the beach can escalate quite quickly, and it can put the person and those who go to their aid at risk.
‘We want everyone to have a positive experience at the festival and to enjoy it in a safe manner so please take it easy and watch out for your mates,” he concluded.
Emergency services will be out in force throughout festival week and Surf Life Saving volunteers and rescue assets will also be on-call to respond to any coastal emergencies.
Looking ahead, the forecast for the three-day extravaganza is for cool and wet conditions but it is unlikely to put a dampener on the celebrations.