Lifesavers Prepare To Lower Flags On Busy Season

Volunteer lifesavers from the 10 clubs of the Far North Coast Branch can look forward to a well-deserved break as they prepare to lower the flags on the 2015/16 Patrol Season.

Local lifesavers are gearing up for the final three days of patrols which will be Saturday 23 April until the afternoon of Anzac Day.

It’s been a busy year for the 1,272 patrolling members of the Far North Coast.

Since September, frontline volunteers have performed 159 rescues, 290 first aid treatments for injuries ranging from broken bones through to suspected spinal problems and anaphylactic shock as well as a further 9,156 preventative actions.

Far North Coast lifesavers have been kept particularly busy due to a huge amount of call outs to the emergency response system tasked from the State Operations Centre in Sydney.

These incidents have included everything from reports of vessels in distress and helping to clear the water after confirmed shark sightings.

Sadly the drowning tally across the state has risen to 42 this financial year with six of these occurring at beaches in the area.

There has been a spike of coastal fatalities to start 2016 with a drowning occurring almost every three days in what is a worrying trend for lifesavers who are keen to ensure that the public embrace the safety messages.

“We’re very fortunate to have a rich variety of beaches here along our coastline and we want everyone from the first time tourist to the regular locals to be able to safely enjoy their time in the water,” Far North Coast Director of Lifesaving Chris Samuels said.

“As lifesavers our number one goal is for everyone to enjoy the beach safely, and that is why we continue to reinforce our beach safety messages.”

Mr Samuels also praised the efforts of the local club members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty throughout the season.

“We can’t hide from the fact that is has been a challenging year for all of our members due to a variety of circumstances.

“I would like to thank all of them for their commitment and dedication throughout the season, and I know that visitors to our beaches certainly feel reassured when they see the red and yellow flying each weekend,” he concluded.

Flags will come down on the 2015/16 Patrol Season on Monday 25 April. A number of beaches will be patrolled by Lifeguards throughout the winter months please see the BeachSafe Website for further details. Volunteer lifesavers will resume patrols for the 2016/17 Season in late September.

Tips For Keeping Safe At The Beach

• 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 Police

• Don’t forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated.

• For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.

Thu 21 Apr 2016