Successful Patrol Season For Tweed Lifeguards

Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) have lowered their flags on another busy summer patrolling beaches across the Tweed Shire, and in a sign that public safety messages are having a positive impact, there was also a reduction in total rescues.

The Tweed’s popularity as a premium tourist destination for travellers looking to make the most of a coastal break shows no signs of abating after a 16% increase in beach visitations this season.

A long hot summer which has extended through to autumn and the option of several beaches with 7-day-a-week patrol throughout peak season has driven this surge in crowds with Flagstaff (Duranbah) recording the largest amount of visitors with almost 55,000 tallied.

A key priority for Lifeguards was a continuing emphasis on preventative actions which was again reinforced in their pre-season training. The purpose of this training was to ensure that Lifeguards were aware of the need to constantly monitor their surroundings so that that they could intervene in situations before they escalated to the point that a rescue was required.

Some common incidents that necessitated preventative actions included reminding swimmers to swimmers to swim in the flagged area, being aware of tidal changes and the presence of rip currents.

As a result Lifeguards recorded almost 13,000 instances where they intervened with a preventative action.

One incident among many that highlights the vigilance and professionalism of Lifeguards occurred in late March at Duranbah Beach. During their patrol ALS staff noticed that a motionless man in the water.

After rescuing the unconscious swimmer they administered oxygen therapy and requested paramedics through the State Operations Centre. This integrated response demonstrates the importance of first responders working effectively together.

Pleasingly for Lifeguards despite the increase in attendance there has been a fall in rescues; 43 were recorded this season as opposed to the 85 in 2014/15.

“It’s been a highly successful summer for our Lifeguards who have continued to enhance their reputation for professionalism and high standards of care across the Tweed Shire,” ALS Northern NSW Coordinator Scott McCartney said.

“With tourism bringing enormous economic benefits to the region it’s important that people feel like that they can enter the water with confidence. Tweed Shire Council has committed to taking water safety seriously and we have enjoyed positive relationships with them as we work together in protecting beachgoers,” he concluded.

Beachgoers throughout the winter months are advised to visit www.beachsafe.org.au for a list of patrolled locations, access to weather updates, and handy tips to help you plan your visit to the coast. It is also available to download as an app.

Tweed Shire Council 2015/2016 Statistics:

  • Rescues - 43
  • Preventative Actions – 12,944
  • First Aid - 223
  • Attendance - 231,711

Wed 8 Jun 2016