Schoolies urged to watch out for mates

School leavers descending on NSW beaches are being urged to “look out for their mates” as they celebrate the end of their formal education.

Over the next few weeks, 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.

Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) NSW coordinator Brent Manieri encourages holidaying students to make the most of their time off, but has urged all schoolies to watch out for each other while participating in on-water activities.

“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,” Brent Manieri said

“If in doubt about conditions or your abilities, don’t go 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 Bay Council, which remains a popular schoolies haunt, has taken extra precautions with an additional lifeguard on duty for the three-week duration of schoolies.

SLSNSW Lifesaving 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

Tue 25 Nov 2014