Hot weather and large crowds at our beaches on Boxing Day saw volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards perform a staggering 348 rescues across the state.

It’s a volume that highlights the dedication and ability of Surf Life Saving NSW members, and illustrates just how busy the day proved to be.

For the calendar year from July 1 2021 to June 30 2022, statistics highlighted in the 2022 Surf Life Saving NSW Coastal Safety Report show that 4,257 rescues were made. Today alone, lifesavers and lifeguards completed more than eight per cent of that number.

The day began with an Emergency Response Beacon activation at Shelly Beach on the Northern Beaches at around 8.30AM when a member of the public advised the SLSNSW State Operations Centre (SOC) that a female as in the water requiring assistance.

Manly lifeguards and SLSNSW Rescue Water Craft arrived on scene and pulled a 70-year-old female from the water, face down, and brought her to shore. She was treated before being taken by NSW Ambulance in a semi-conscious state.

Further south at around 1.15PM, a three-year-old male was presented to Stawell Park patrol by his parents unconscious and breathing having been pulled from the nearby lagoon.

NSW Ambulance was called and when the boy was taken away he was conscious.

Other incidents of note included a multi-club Search and Rescue operation at Bellambi boat ramp after a 40-year-old male was reported missing by family after leaving earlier in the day on his jet ski.

After a significant search, the man and his water craft was located safe and well off Austinmer.

On the Central Coast, meanwhile, just after patrol had packed down for the day, four people were rescued by lifesavers at Avoca Beach having found themselves in trouble in the water.

One lifesaver swam out with a board to keep the four people afloat before the IRB could be deployed to rescue them.

In all, volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards delivered 260 first aids, performed 4,745 preventative actions, and 24 ambos

“Our volunteers have shown just how important the service they provide along our beaches is, particularly during the busy summer months,” SLSNSW CEO, Steve Pearce said.

Last year across the state, the period between December 2021 and February 2022 claimed the record for the most coastal and ocean drowning deaths over a summer, with 25 fatalities recorded in NSW, despite the higher than usual rainfall from La Niña and reduced beach attendances.

In NSW, drowning deaths are 2.7 times more likely to occur on a public holiday and 1.6 times more likely during school holidays. The end of year break, often coupled with celebrating with family and friends, can create a perfect storm.

“The statistics really show a need to push the critical surf safety messaging that SLSNSW works year-round to spread through our communities,” Steve said.

“The most important things to do when considering entering the water is to do so at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags.”

Monday 26 December 2022