8.8 C
Byron Shire
June 14, 2024

Tragic new record high for coastal drownings

Latest News

Winter fest at Byron High, June 18

To celebrate the creative and artistic talents of students, Byron Bay High School is holding its annual Winter Arts Festival (a.k.a the WAF) showcase evening on Tuesday, June 18. 

Other News

Cheaper EVs!

Considering switching to an electric vehicle (EV)? The recent Echo ‘Sustainability’ supplement states that the cheapest EV in Australia...

What is the future of Lismore? Here are some ideas for what it could be

After the devastating floods of 2022 the future of Lismore was thrown up in the air and it was time to take a long hard look at what the future of the town would be. 

Bringing the ‘Funky Bus’ to town

Louey Howell and the Funkatu Collective are an original psychedelic, bush funk band who combine an eclectic fusion of reggae, soul, ska and hip-hop into a delightfully delicious explosion of funky goodness guaranteed to get your booty shakin’.

Ongoing roadworks

In response to Scott Wilson (Echo 29 May) questioning Byron Council’s spending on roads and infrastructure, the truth is...

Assange doco to screen in Byron

Julian Assange’s US extradition appeal is a significant event in the world’s history of democracy but he’s been in jail so long some have probably missed the memo.

Incredibly biased

Danny Wakil blasts my ‘incredibly biased anti-Israel letters’ and ‘fictitious claims about Israel’, but he doesn’t cite a single...

Surf Life Saving NSW reports that surf lifesavers are battling a shocking summer that has seen volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards amidst the worst season for coastal drownings on record, as three drownings in two days over the weekend bring the rolling tally to 26 since December 1.

That number may be poised to rise as well with two incidents from yesterday, Sunday 19 February, rolling over into today and Surf Life Saving assets on standby to launch again at 8am in two separate locations for search and rescue missions.

The three drownings, the most recent of which occurring at Seal Rocks on the Lower North Coast on Sunday evening, ensured that with one weekend left of summer, the 2022-23 season will be the worst on record – with time still for that number to grow.

Surpassing last year’s tally

Twenty-six coastal drownings since December 1 surpasses last year’s tally of 25 for the three-month period.

At Treachery Beach in Seal Rocks, the Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre (SOC) was advised by NSW Police at around 7.22pm that a male had been witnessed submerging in a rip.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter made its way to the scene and the Pacific Palms SLSC Call Out Team was tasked and, once having launched a jet ski to assist in the rescue, located a man at the north end of the beach.

The jet ski operator pulled the man onto the back of the watercraft, however tricky conditions meant the Helicopter would eventually need to assist with extrication, and the man in his 50s was later declared deceased.

The drowning incident followed two on Saturday 18 February, one at Timber Beach in Lake Munmorah National Park and one at Wreck Beach in Port Stephens, where men – also in their 50s – were pulled from the water and later declared deceased on scene.

In the Hunter, the man was reportedly surfing before he came into trouble, while on the Central Coast the man’s wife had advised that her husband had gone for a swim and not returned. He was later found a beach over in the break zone from where his wife had called in the incident.

For the weekend of 18-19 February, volunteer surf lifesavers made 72 rescues, engaged in 4,241 preventative actions, performed 155 first aids, and nine ambulances were called by the SOC.

Incidents still ongoing

Two incidents are still ongoing – search and rescue operations resumed at 8am this morning for people believed to be missing at Maroubra and Wamberal.

SLSNSW CEO, Steve Pearce, said this weekend was a terrible one on the coastline. ‘Every drowning is a tragedy and to have now had 26 since December 1, which is a new record in NSW, is truly devastating.

‘I must reiterate the message we have been spreading all summer. If you are visiting the coastline, always swim at a patrolled location between the red and yellow flags.

‘If we can’t see you, we can’t save you.’

Since December 1 2022, there have been 26 coastal drownings and 38 since July 1 2022.


  • Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
  • Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information
  • Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero
  • For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Man dies following fatal crash – Yorklea, south of Casino

About 1am on Thursday emergency services responded to reports after a vehicle crashed into a tree.

Broken Head Quarry development plan rears its head once again

Long-dormant plans to turn the former Broken Head Quarry site into a residential development have lumbered out of the bush like a bewildered dinosaur.

Can I have more?

Whooo hooo! Byron Bay business community donates $1,360 to BayFM… ‘Please Sir, can I have some more?’ should have been the headline in last...

Rail trails

Having ridden both local rail trails I can only say what a pleasure they bring. No cars or traffic noise (mostly), birds, beautiful plants, etc....