Don't 'Get Ripped' This Schoolies

With Schoolies celebrations set to kick off from this weekend, surf lifesavers and lifeguards are pleading with young revellers to make surf safety a priority.

“Each year many schoolies take major risks by swimming outside patrolled areas, swimming at night, and swimming under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” said SLSNSW Lifesaving Manager, Dean Storey. “Sadly, this high risk behavior can end in tragedy.”

Lifesavers and lifeguards will be out reinforcing the ‘Don’t Get Ripped this Schoolies’ safety message in the key holiday hotspots up and down the NSW coast including Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour. Surf safety information has been distributed to the majority of accommodation providers, information centres and airports in these key holiday hotspots in an attempt to flood the area with information.

However, many schoolies groups are broadening their scope beyond these traditional haunts and will be escaping to smaller seaside towns along the coast such as Port Macquarie, Forster, South West Rocks, Coffs Harbour and places on the South Coast such as Merimbula and Batemans Bay. Many of these beaches are unpatrolled during the week and teenagers are urged to take care.

Monday-Friday Lifeguard services at schoolies hot spot Byron Bay will begin on Monday 19 November 2012, complimenting the weekend volunteer patrols. Byron Lifeguards will be going above and beyond this year and will be running daily surf safety talks, handing out flyers and conducting roving patrols along Byron Main Beach for the entirety of the schoolies period.

“Our services will be working hard throughout the schoolies period and we are preparing our callout teams to respond to after-hours incidents. At the end of the day, young people need to make smart decisions about where and when they swim, choosing a patrolled beach and swimming between the flags is the smartest decision they can make,” said Dean Storey.

Schoolies Safety Checklist:

  • Only swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol/drugs
  • Never swim at night
  • Ask a surf lifesaver or lifeguard for advice
  • Look after your mates
  • Call ‘000 – Police’ to report an in-water emergency

Go to www.beachsafe.org.au and download the iPhone app for vital information like patrolled beach locations, hours of operation, beach status and surf conditions.

Wed 14 Nov 2012