Vigilance of Lifesavers Reflected in Busy Season

Every weekend from September to April volunteer lifesavers are at work patrolling our beaches. Their vigilance plays an enormous role in keeping people safe along the coastline, and it is a tradition that has lasted for over a century.

Collectively 21,000 active patrolling members have given over 500,000 hours of their time to ensure that beachgoers around NSW were protected throughout the season.

Beaches patrolled ranged from Fingal in the north through to Pambula on the Far South Coast – a huge stretch of unique and diverse coastline that throws up its own challenges.

Travelling up or down the coast for the family holiday is a wonderful experience, and it is something that our international visitors embrace as well as they strive to make the most of their time “down under.”

This means that they are often going to a beach where conditions can be unfamiliar and as a result the role of the lifesaver becomes ever more crucial.

Unfortunately there have been 32 coastal drownings in the last year, two more than in 2013/14 but still below the ten-year average. A sobering reality is that of those drownings, almost 40% are those who live over 50 kilometres away from the beach where the incident occurred.

“Conditions on beaches hundreds of kilometres away from home can be quite different and people sometimes get into difficulty when they don’t appreciate this fact,” Surf Life Saving NSW Community Education Officer Stacey Pidgeon said.

“Accommodation providers and lifesavers play a vital communication role with tourists as they are familiar with the conditions and can advise people on the unique challenges of a particular area.

“Our advice is for everyone to swim between the flags, but we believe positive interactions between guests, lifesavers, and tourist operators can help spread the educational message,” she said.

Lifesaving Statistics 2014/15:

9,180 First Aid Treatments
138,366 Preventative Actions
5,876 Rescues
7,000 000 + Attendance

*Statistics correct as of 31 May with the full figures to published in the 2014/15 Annual Report.

Mon 29 Jun 2015