Project Blueprint to Assess Port Stephens

A state-wide coastal public safety risk assessment project will be based locally in the Port Stephens region from next week as part of 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 Port Stephens represents a major milestone as it one of the largest remaining local government areas to be assessed.

During the site visit the Project Blueprint team will assess 105 kilometres of pristine coastline between Tomaree Head and Stockton.

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 Port Stephens Council and the regional division of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“The Port Stephens area is famed across the state for its wonderfully diverse range of coastline and waterways,” Ian Crawford, Port Stephens Council’s Contracts and Services Coordinator said.

“With such natural beauty it is vital for us to continuously work to reduce the risk of people drowning in these waters, and that is why research programs such as Project Blueprint are an important strategic asset.”

Since 2004 there have been 7 coastal drownings within the Port Stephens Local Government Area, while the Surf Rescue Emergency Response system has logged 44 major incidents in the last 7 years.

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

Community Forum Details:

Fingal Bay Surf Life Saving Club

When: Wednesday 9 September

Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club

When: Thursday 10 September

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 Page

Wed 2 Sep 2015