NSW Surf Patrol Season Begins
NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Michael Gallacher, has officially launched the 2013/14 NSW Surf Life Saving patrol season today at the brand new North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club.
From this Saturday, over 21,000 volunteer surf lifesavers will hit beaches across the state, patrolling on weekends and public holidays through until the end of April 2014.
“Last year just under 4000 lives were saved while over 18,000 people were treated for first aid from volunteer surf lifesavers along our coastline,” Minister Gallacher said.
“When anyone puts their hand up in the water, it’s our surf life savers who respond to that call for help. The volunteers put their lives on the line to ensure safety at some of our most popular beaches and swimming spots.
“As a member of Surf Life Saving for over a decade, I know the dedication and passion our surf lifesavers have both on and off the beach,” Minister Gallacher said.
“I am proud to be part of such an important organisation and look forward to patrolling our coastline this summer."
Surf Life Saving NSW has also seen a boost in membership numbers across the organisation which has reached an all-time high of 76,922, including more than 31,000 nippers.
Surf Life Saving NSW President, Tony Haven, said that the movement continues to go from strength to strength on the back of the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to Surf Lifesaving.
“This year our lifesavers will once again spend in excess of 670,000 voluntary hours patrolling beaches along the state’s coastline. This enormous contribution will continue to help create a safer swimming environment for beachgoers as it has done for over 100 years,” Mr Haven said.
With last season's NSW coastal drowning statistics remaining high (48), Surf Life Saving NSW is urging beachgoers to swim at patrolled locations in between the red and yellow flags.
With the growing demand for more effective lifesaving services, Surf Life Saving is working closely with equipment providers such as BRP which has provided Rescue Water Craft and All-Terrain Vehicles to surf clubs across the state.
At the season launch at Nth Bondi, BRP General Manager Gregoire Dupont said the company was proud to support the state's volunteers with vital lifesaving equipment.
"Without the life savers’ commitment and bravery, Australia would not be able to boast about its vibrant and safe beach culture which is the envy of many around the world."
The volunteer patrol season ends on Sunday 27 April 2014.
Fri 20 Sep 2013