Northern Lifeguards Bid Farewell To Summer Patrols

It’s been a successful summer patrolling the beaches of the Far North Coast for the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) with Lifeguards encouraged by a reduction in rescues throughout the region

Byron Bay, Cape Byron, Ballina, and the Richmond Valley all experienced significant crowds throughout peak season, suggesting that the lure of a coastal getaway is still extremely strong.

Almost 900,000 people were recorded visiting one of the ten ALS patrolled beaches in the Byron and Cape Byron vicinity, with just over 500,000 attending Main Beach Byron Bay where Lifeguards were stationed throughout the winter months in a popular move for locals.

A key priority for Lifeguards in 2015/16 has been the ongoing emphasis on preventative actions reinforced to team members during their pre-season training. The purpose of this training was to ensure that Lifeguards were aware of the need to constantly monitor their surroundings so that that they could intervene in situations before they escalated to the point that a rescue was required.

As a result Lifeguards performed 20,000 preventative actions in Ballina, 34,100 in Byron Bay, 11,000 in Cape Byron and just over 2,000 in the Richmond Valley.

Some common incidents that necessitated preventative actions included reminding swimmers to swimmers to swim in the flagged area, being aware of tidal changes and the presence of rip currents.

Pleasingly for Lifeguards there has been a fall in overall rescue rates in comparison to last season.

There were 25 rescues in Ballina down from 29 in 2014/15, 45 in Byron Bay (77 last season), 36 were carried out by Lifeguards in the Cape Byron Trust area (down from 62), and 3 in the Richmond Valley a significant fall from the 12 recorded last summer.

“This summer patrol season has been enjoyable for our Lifeguards. Like every season there are challenges which you anticipate when you are working in an environment that is so dynamic, but I know our Lifeguards handled every challenge thrown their way the professionalism and dedication that the public have come to expect from the ALS,” ALS Northern NSW Coordinator Scott McCartney said.'

Mr McCartney also praised Byron Bay Shire Council, Byron Bay Cape Trust, Ballina Shire Council and Richmond Valley Council for their commitment to ensuring the safety of visitors to the beach within the Far North Coast area.

Byron Bay Main Beach will be patrolled throughout the winter months, while all beachgoers are advised to visit for a list of patrolled locations, access to weather updates, and handy information about each beach. This information is also available to download via an app.

Ballina Shire Council 2015/16 Statistics:
• Rescues - 25
• Preventative actions – 20,043
• First Aid – 354
• Attendance – 196,374

Byron Shire Council 2015/2016 Statistics:

• Rescues - 45
• Preventative actions – 34,100
• First Aid – 639
• Attendance – 665,198

Cape Byron Trust 2015/16 Statistics:

• Rescues - 36
• Preventative actions – 11,502
• First Aid – 288
• Attendance – 237,025

Richmond Valley Council 2015/16 Statistics:

• Rescues - 3
• Preventative actions – 2,142
• First Aid – 13
• Attendance – 31,791

Wed 8 Jun 2016