Schoolies Urged To Be Beach Safe

With New South Wales high school leavers heading off on their schoolie adventures from tomorrow surf lifesavers are issuing a warning to those looking to cool off during the celebrations; alcohol and the ocean are a dangerous combination.

Thousands of school leavers will be heading to holiday hotspots across the state, with sea, sun, and fun forming an important part of the festivities to mark the end of thirteen years of study.

Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) Northern NSW coordinator Scott McCartney said holidaying students should make the most of their time off, but has urged all schoolies to watch out for each other while enjoying all the beach has to offer.

“There are many wonderful beaches across NSW, and they are great places to relax, but it is crucial for everyone to be aware of the importance of surf safety.

“Please take the time to familiarise yourself with local conditions, always swim between the flags during patrolled hours, ask lifeguards or lifesavers for advice and avoid the temptation of swimming after consuming alcohol or swimming at night,” Mr McCartney said.

The strong surf conditions along the east coast from earlier in the week are expected to ease throughout the weekend although swells can still be deceptively powerful and beachgoers are advised to check the latest forecasts before heading out.

While many schoolies will be travelling to traditional tourist destinations in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland, there has been a trend in recent years for school leavers to head to smaller seaside towns.

Areas such as Port Macquarie, Forster, South West Rocks and Batemans Bay have all experienced a surge in popularity for schoolies looking for a more relaxed holiday. It’s important to note that some of these less populated beaches are unpatrolled during the week, and extra care should be taken by all beachgoers.

Byron Shire Council, which remains a popular schoolies haunt, has taken extra precautions with an additional lifeguard on duty for the duration of the school leavers period. Acting Surf Life Saving NSW Operations Manager Andy Kent, hopes that the message of “watching out for your mates” will get through to all teenagers embarking on schoolies.

“While our lifesavers and lifeguards are all extremely well-trained, it is important for everyone to know the dangers and to watch out for your friends while enjoying the water. “We want people to have a good time and to make sensible decisions around their own and others’ safety in the water,” Andy Kent said.

Lifesavers and lifeguards will be out in force to reiterate the importance of surf safety throughout the celebrations, and should be the first point of call for anyone experiencing any difficulties while on the beach.

Schoolies Safety Checklist

• Only swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
• Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol/drugs
• Never swim at night
• Ask a surf lifesaver or lifeguard for advice
• Look after your mates, and know where your group is while in the water
• Call triple-zero – Police to report an in-water emergency

Fri 25 Nov 2016