As many as 10 people may owe their lives to the first ever winter patrols of Byron Bay’s Main Beach conducted by the Australian Lifeguard Service.
Over the period they performed 10 rescues and gave first aid to a total of 38 people, treating everything from marine stings, fractures, and suspected spinal injuries through to administering oxygen therapy..
Byron’s popularity as a premium holiday destination showed no signs of slowing during the cooler months either, with more than 200,000 people flocking Main Beach between late-April to mid-September.
This averaged out to around 1,400 people using the beach each day and was undoubtedly boosted by the relatively mild winter enjoyed by the Byron Bay region this year.
Lifeguards were stationed on the beach between 9am-5pm, seven days a week with their priority ensuring the safety of all visitors regardless of whether they were swimming, surfing, using the sand for recreational activities or boating in the area.
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson welcomed the positive report on winter beach patrols and recreation.
‘Our locals have a strong attachment to the water, with many generations having grown up learning to swim and surf at Main Beach.
‘Plus our renowned Byron Bay beach is a must visit place for many visitors who travel the globe.
‘The local lifeguards on the beach are great ambassadors for our area and being able to provide a safe environment, is a key council service that we proudly fund,’ he said.
A focus of all ALS contracts in recent years has been to emphasise to all lifeguards the importance of preventative actions so that what appears a minor incident won’t escalate into a dangerous situation.
As a result statistics recording these proactive actions across the broad range of ALS patrolled beaches has increased significantly, but in direct correlation rescues have largely fallen.
In the case of Byron’s Main Beach there were 11,143 preventive actions taken by lifeguards during winter with 10 rescues conducted.
ALS NSW manager Brent Manieri said the professionalism of the lifeguards inspired confidence, and thanked council for their commitment to safeguarding the community.
‘We were entering the unknown a little bit as we had never delivered a full-time winter contract in the Byron Bay area before but the community responded positively.
‘The ALS has a strong relationship with council and they deserve credit for their willingness to embrace this service and protect both the local community and visitors to Byron Shire.’
‘Our lifeguards across the state have a reputation for professionalism and doing everything possible to ensure we deliver a positive service and experience for everyone. It is something that we are obviously very proud of and I am delighted with the successful winter service,’ Mr Manieri said.