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As thousands of festival revellers from as far away as Southern NSW and Queensland prepare to make their annual pilgrimage to Byron Bay for Splendour In The Grass from tomorrow, Surf Lifesavers have issued a warning that alcohol, drugs and swimming can be a deadly combination.

Byron Bay’s Main Beach is currently the only patrolled beach on the NSW Far North Coast, and is the ideal location for those looking to cool off after a day at the festival.

While the attraction of the pristine coastline can be irresistible at times, the fact that that Main Beach will be patrolled from 9am – 5pm by professional Lifeguards should encourage revellers to swim there.

Conditions over the three-day festival are expected to be on the mild side with the mercury forecast to hover in the low 20s. The winter sunshine is also eagerly anticipated with those charged with watching over the area’s waterways expecting a busy weekend.

Elsewhere around the state powerful swells could potentially impact the coastline but the geography of Byron Bay is likely to provide a buffer, though as always anyone participating in coastal activities such as swimming, surfing, boating, or rock fishing are urged to be vigilant.

Local lifesavers have a simple message for the music loving crowd.

“Water, drugs and alcohol simply don’t mix,” Surf Life Saving Far North Coast Emergency Services Coordinator Jimmy Keough said in a pointed warning to the expected influx of visitors.

“Dangerous situations both in the water and on the beach can escalate quickly, which puts Lifeguards and our volunteer rescue callout teams who respond at risk as well.

“We want everyone to enjoy the festival and get home safely so the best advice we can give is look after your mates and think twice before taking any risks,” he said.

Police and emergency services will be out in force throughout the weekend, with Far North Coast Surf Life Saving volunteers including on-call support operations from the Brunswick area on hand to respond to any coastal emergencies if required.

General Beach Safety Tips:

• Always swim at patrolled beaches

• Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safer area for swimming

• Never swim, surf or fish alone

• Read and obey the signs

• Be aware of rip currents (know how to spot one and how to escape from one)

• Don't swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs

• Never run or dive in the water, even if you have checked before as water conditions can change

• If in doubt stay out

• Seek advice from Lifeguards


Thursday 20 July 2017