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A perfect storm is brewing on the Far North Coast of NSW with music fans and holidaymakers set to descend on Byron Bay for Splendour in the Grass just as hazardous surf conditions are expected to hit the region. Surf Life Saving NSW has a simple message; swim between the red and yellow flags at a patrolled location.

A deepening low-pressure system over the Coral Sea looks to develop strong to possible gale-force east to south-easterly winds along the northern NSW coast on Friday, initially creating 3-5m swell developing along the Coffs and Byron Coasts.

This is expected to drop to 2-4m swell spreading south on Saturday.

While the forecast also predicts temperatures in the teens with a high chance of rain on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, SLSNSW is none-the-less encouraging those who may have plans to visit the coastline this weekend to take care.

“We’re going to have a big influx of visitors to the area due to the festival, and we just want to make sure they’re safe,” Far North Coast Emergency Service Coordinator, Jimmy Keough said.

“We’ve beefed up our Support Operations in the area, and there will be roving surveillance over the course of the coming days where we will be responding to any aquatic incidents as required, together with other emergency services.

“The best advice we can give is the same advice we offer every year – to swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags.”

There are two patrolled locations in the area over winter – Byron Bay Main Beach and Kingscliff Main Beach from 9-5PM, seven days.

“Water, drugs and alcohol simply don’t mix. We are not out to ruin the party or anyone’s fun but it’s important for people to realise that dangerous situations both in the water and on the beach can escalate quickly, particularly this weekend with the predicted hazardous surf.

“This not only endangers their own lives but puts our Lifeguards and our volunteer rescue teams who respond at risk as well.”

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.

Wednesday 20 July 2022