Successful Summer For Lower North Coast Lifeguards
Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) have closed the book on another successful summer protecting visitors to the beaches of Greater Taree and Great Lakes, and pleasingly for the men and women charged with keeping the beach going public safe incidents involved rescue have remained relatively stable.
The area’s popularity as a tourism destination continues to grow with peak periods of visitors continuing throughout the summer months. Over 20,000 visitors were recorded at the three ALS patrolled beaches in Greater Taree with almost half of those at Blackhead Beach. Solid numbers were also reported at the four beaches of Great Lakes with Elizabeth Beach, Bennets Beach (Hawks Nest), and Forster all recording visitors in excess of 30,000.
A key priority for Lifeguards in 2015/16 was the ongoing emphasis on preventative actions which was reinforced to team members during 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.
As a result Lifeguards carried out 3,704 preventative actions across The Great Lakes and a further 1,074 in Greater Taree. Pleasingly for Lifeguards rescues fell in Greater Taree having from 8 in 2014/16 to 4 this season, and remained steady in Great Lakes with 17 rescue performed in each of the last two seasons.
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, and ensuring that there weren’t any obstacles in the ocean that could impede water users.
While there weren’t any drownings inside the patrolled areas, Lifeguards were involved in a tragic incident at Hawks Nest in January. They were patrolling the nearby One Mile Beach at Hawks Nest when they were alerted to a group of swimmers struggling in a rip in the powerful surf.
Once on-scene they were able to effect a rescue on two of the swimmers, but were unable to reach the third man aged in his 20s from Sydney. Lifeguards participated in the subsequent multi-agency search operations.
ALS NSW Manager Brent Manieri said it was a pleasing, but challenging summer for Lifeguards across the two Local Government Areas.
“This summer patrol season has been enjoyable for our Lifeguards. Like every season there are challenges which you anticipate when you are working in an environment that is so dynamic, but I know our Lifeguards handled every challenge thrown their way the professionalism and dedication that the public have come to expect from the ALS,” Mr Manieri said.
He also noted that both Great Lakes Council and Greater Taree City Council should be commended for their commitment to surf safety.
“When you work delivering front line services on the beach it is important to have strong relationships with Council. Both Great Lakes and Greater Taree Council share a vision of promoting and encouraging tourism in the region and being able to offer a safe beach where the public has confidence in Lifeguards is extremely important for our relationship going forward,” 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.
Great Lakes Council 2015/2016 Statistics:
- Rescues - 17
- Preventative Actions - 3,704
- First Aid - 228
- Attendance - 119,052
Greater Taree City Council 2014/2015 Statistics:
- Rescues - 4
- Preventative Actions: - 1,074
- First Aid - 23
*Attendance - 20,407
Wed 8 Jun 2016