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Byron Shire
December 3, 2022

Heatwave puts lifesavers on high alert

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Four people have lost their lives in the last week on the NSW coast and Surf Life Saving NSW are reminding people using all waterways to be on high alert over the coming days while heatwave conditions are coinciding with Christmas holidays and weeks as people hit the beach and waterways across the state.

‘The tragic drowning of three people at Coffs Harbour this week has definitely spooked our surf lifesavers who will be on duty over the Christmas break,’ said Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce.

‘Big influxes of people descending on our beaches, coinciding with some possible extreme hot weather next week is the perfect storm unfortunately. Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are often the busiest days of the year for our volunteers and this year looks like no exception,’ said Steven Pearce.

‘The Christmas holiday period is already a really busy and dangerous time and this year it will be exacerbated by heatwave conditions when we also see huge numbers of people seek refuge from the heat by heading to our beaches, lakes and rivers,’ the Bureau of Meteorology’s acting NSW/ACT Manager, Agata Imielska, said.

The hot weather combined with the spirit of the season is also likely to see more people drinking and swimming, especially in the period from Christmas to New Year’s Day.

‘Please take care and watch out for each other these holidays. Swim between the flags, wear a lifejacket if you’re out on the water or rockfishing and don’t overestimate your abilities, particularly after a few drinks,’ said Steven Pearce.

Surf Life Saving volunteers and lifeguards will be on patrol around the state throughout the holidays.

‘As the wild storms of the past week have highlighted, summer is a volatile and sometimes dangerous period on the water and on the land, but if people check the forecasts and watch the warnings they can go a long way towards protecting themselves and their families. We want to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday,’ Ms Imielska added.

While this is one of the most enjoyable periods of the year for many Australians, history has also proven it can be one of the most dangerous.

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