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July 20, 2024

They’re he-ere: SLSC surf patrols are on!

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Surf Life Saving NSW says that more than 20,000 active volunteer lifesavers began patrols on beaches across the state on Saturday. 

Forecasts of an extremely hot and dry summer have lifesavers on high alert, with a major surge in numbers expected on beaches and waterways this season. 

Brunswick SLSC Captain, Leigh Robbins, is on the lookout for new members for the 2023/24 season.

Forecasts of an extremely hot and dry summer have lifesavers on high alert, with a major surge in numbers expected on beaches and waterways this season. At the same time, many surf clubs are experiencing problems attracting enough volunteers to meet the expected demand, particularly in regional areas.

On the first day of patrols, NSW Premier Chris Minns with Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib, took part in a symbolic raising of the red and yellow flags at Maroubra Beach. The Premier urged beachgoers to be cautious, to observe water safety advice from lifesavers or lifeguards and take responsibility for themselves and their families when heading to the coastline this summer.

Every life lost is a tragedy

Mr Minns said every life lost is a tragedy. ‘This season will be extremely challenging for our lifesavers and more people visiting the beach means a higher probability of more rescues and more drownings.

‘Please follow the instructions of our Surf Life Saving volunteers, who are also putting their lives on the line each and every day to keep us safe.

Swim between the Surf Life Saving NSW flags.

‘Swim between the flags, make sure you supervise your children, wear a life jacket where required and we’ll all have a fun and safe summer.’

Minister Dib thanked volunteers.’There is no other country in the world that has a Surf Life Saving volunteer army like we do in Australia,

‘The spirit of volunteering makes our state great, but Surf Life Saving, like other volunteer community organisations, needs your help. Some surf clubs are experiencing a critical shortage of members which is very concerning coming into an extremely busy summer.’

Volunteer as little or as much as you like

President of Surf Life Saving NSW Peter Agnew echoed these concerns. ‘We need help across the board and not just from those who can perform a rescue. You can volunteer as little or as much as you like and in every role, from admin, to first aid, to teaching Nippers or helping in the club canteen. 

Recognising the increased level of danger on beaches and waterways, the NSW Government has responded with an uplift of $23m over the next four years to support Surf Life Saving volunteers with facilities improvements, equipment, training and education programs for at-risk communities. 

The role of volunteer surf lifesavers this summer includes: 

  • Identify the safest part of the beach to position the red and yellow flags 
  • Patrol the flagged area and monitor the beach conditions
  • Conduct preventative actions and rescue people in distress 
  • Provide modified first aid and assistance to people in trouble on the beach and in the water 
  • Work with other emergency services to assist with incident response away from patrolled locations or outside patrol hours 
  • Provide information to beachgoers about surf conditions, beach safety and beach alert or closure information due to Covid restrictions (via Beachsafe.org.au or the Beachsafe App)

The volunteer Surf Patrol season runs until 28 April 2024.  

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