Project Blueprint To Assess Kempsey Coastline

A state-wide coastal public safety risk assessment project will be based locally in the Kempsey region from next week as part of a four-year research study to help reduce coastal drownings across the state.

More than 350 people have drowned along the coast of NSW in the last decade, and while the incidents have been varied the vast majority are people caught in rip currents while swimming, or swept from rocks while fishing and almost all occur at unpatrolled locations or outside patrol hours.

Surf Life Saving NSW’s Project Blueprint aims to help reduce coastal drowning deaths by assessing every coastal location in NSW including beaches and rock headlands. Having already visited a significant part of the state during the first three years, the trip to Kempsey is a major milestone for the project as it is one of the final assessment areas along the Mid North Coast.

During the site visit the Project Blueprint team will assess 84 kilometres of pristine coastline between Middle Beach (Grassy Head) in the north and Point Plomer in the south.

The project is being delivered as part of the NSW Government Water Safety Blackspots Program by the SLSNSW Australian CoastSafe Department with the support of Kempsey Shire Council.

“The Kempsey Shire is a popular tourist hotspot and with the influx of visitors last year we had over two hundred thousand people visit our beaches during the summer season,” said Council’s Director Infrastructure Services, Mr Robert Scott.

“Supporting this initiative aligns closely with one of the strategies in our Community Strategic Plan which is about reducing the risk for people enjoying our coastline and waterways.”

The local branch of the National Parks and Wildlife Service are also supportive of the project. “Reducing the risk along our coastline is important to us at National Parks and Wildlife, and we are looking forward to sharing our local knowledge with the team in the effort to keep everyone safe while at our beach,” Macleay Area Manager Russell Madeley said.

Since 2004 there have been 14 coastal drownings within the Kempsey Local Government Area, while the Surf Rescue Emergency Response system has logged 37 major incidents in the last 7 years. Last year paid lifeguards performed 60 significant rescues and 13,126 preventative actions in addition to the weekend volunteer service.

Local residents are urged to come to one of the two community forums planned for the area to share their knowledge and experiences of the Kempsey coastline.

“In a research project such as this it is our experience that some of the best information can be gleamed from talking to people who know the area intimately,” Surf Life Saving NSW Coastal Risk Manager Adam Weir said.

“That is why we strongly encourage anyone who can come along to one of our forums to do so and help us develop a blueprint to reduce the risk of drowning in the area.

Community Forum Details:

WHERE: South West Rocks SLSC
WHEN: Wednesday 7 October 2015
TIME: 6:30pm – 8:00pm

WHERE: Crescent Head Community Hall
WHEN: Thursday 8 October
TIME: 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Members of the public that are unable to come along to one of the community forums but would still like to contribute to the project should contact;

Luke Stigter

or visit the CoastSafe Website

Fri 2 Oct 2015