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In an ongoing effort to reduce the drowning toll, Surf Life Saving NSW has received funding from the Surf Life Saving Australia Beach Drowning Blackspot Reduction Program to use in a variety of innovative projects to further improve public awareness.

A key project that the funding will be put towards in the coming months is for the installation of improved signage at identified blackspot locations throughout the state.

A blackspot location is one that, historically, has had a high number of coastal safety related incidents including rescues, emergency call outs and drownings.

“Safety warning signs can be found as permanent installations or temporary warnings used in dangerous conditions such as powerful surf, said NSW Coastal Risk Officer Chris Twine.

“They are there to inform the beach user of the risks they face if they choose to swim at the beach and to educate the user to better prepare them if they enter the water.

Accommodation providers are an excellent source of surf safety facts for their guests, and signs can help provide additional information,” he said.

High risk situations can occur at locations that are in the general proximity of coastal accommodation providers such as caravan parks and camping grounds. Generally visitors who choose to holiday at the beach do so away from their home environment.

These visitors may not have developed the same level of education and swimming ability as locals who have grown up at these particular locations and it puts them at a higher risk of drowning as they are in unfamiliar waters.

Given these factors, coastal accommodation providers are ideally placed locations where new signage could potentially make a difference in reducing the drowning toll. A fact that isn’t lost on those charged with implementing the project over the coming season.

“Signage that directs visitors to the nearest patrolled location or provide emergency information are all essential parts of reducing the risk to a beach user, and over the coming season Surf Life Saving NSW will be working to identify areas where increased signage can have a positive effect,” said Mr Twine.

“We look forward to working with accommodation providers as we seek to deliver a safer surf environment for beachgoers around NSW.”


Friday 23 September 2016