Festival Revellers Urged To Be Beach Safe

As Byron Bay Shire gears up again for the annual Splendour in the Grass Festival this week, Surf Life Saving NSW is reminding people not to enter the water under the influence of alcohol and drugs or swim at an unpatrolled beach.

Byron Bay’s Main Beach is currently the only patrolled beach on the NSW Far North Coast.

Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service will be on duty each day at Byron Bay throughout the festival, and are happy to advise people on the local water conditions and how to enjoy the beach environment safely.

In the last fortnight there have been three major incidents, including a drowning, involving surfers and body boarders along the stretch of coastline between Byron Bay and Ballina.

Water users are being urged to take the time to assess the conditions and be aware of rip currents before entering the water.

Festival patrons looking to cool off are being encouraged to do so safely and to avoid swimming at unpatrolled beaches.

“It’s really a simple message that we want to get across to everyone. Water, drugs and alcohol simply don’t mix,” Far North Coast Emergency Services Coordinator Jimmy Keough said in a pointed warning to the expected influx of visitors.

“Dangerous situations both in the water and on the beach can escalate quite quickly, and it can put the person and those who go to their aid at risk.

“We want everyone to have a positive experience at the festival and to enjoy it in a safe manner so please take it easy and watch out for your mates,” he concluded.

Emergency services will be out in force throughout festival week and Surf Life Saving volunteers and rescue assets will also be on-call to respond to any coastal emergencies.

Looking ahead, the forecast for the three-day extravaganza is for cool and wet conditions but it is unlikely to put a dampener on the celebrations.

General Beach Safety Tips:

* Always swim at patrolled beaches
* Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safer area for swimming
* Never swim, surf or fish alone
* Read and obey the signs
* Be aware of rip currents (know how to spot one and how to escape from one)
* Don't swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
* Never run or dive in the water, even if you have checked before as water conditions can change
* If in doubt stay out
* Seek advice from lifesavers and lifeguards
* For general beach safety advice and up-to-date information, please see the Beachsafe Website

Wed 22 Jul 2015