Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) Lifeguards are anticipating a dramatic increase in coastal visitors this summer, with holiday makers set to take advantage of the first lockdown-free year since 2019.
During the two most recent summers, despite never crossing over with an official lockdown period, NSW residents have had to contend with varying restrictions and the looming possibility of case spikes and further lockdowns when planning their holidays.
Now, for the first time in three years, those issues are not standing in the way.
Throwing back to 2019, NSW beach visitation numbers nearly reached 400,000 more than those taken during the same period in 2021 – the second consecutive year to include a COVID-19-enforced lockdown and the steady lifting of mandatory restrictions.
This is highlighted by the visitation figures recorded in the Byron, Kempsey and Port Stephens regions, which each saw at least 85,000 more people hit the beach in 2019 compared to 2021. Byron, in particular, saw nearly 230,000 less people on the beach last year while Kempsey had less than half as many coastal visitors.
“It’s only natural that with less restrictions and fears surrounding COVID-19, people are going to feel safer about planning trips and spending more time at our NSW beaches,” said ALS Manager Paul Sharp.
“The data is indicating that we can expect to see a significant rise in beach visitation over the upcoming summer period across the state.
“This won’t only be experienced in metropolitan Sydney and surrounds – this will be a statewide rise that many coastal regional hubs up and down the coast will experience as well.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing more and more people enjoying our beaches, but in turn this means that building awareness around safe beach practices and understanding the dangers of the ocean is more important than ever.”
In anticipation of the return to a pre-COVID summer, the ALS is recruiting new Lifeguards to bolster its team of beach safety professionals ahead of the raising of the flags that signifies the start of the season, taking place in the September school holidays.
It presents a fantastic opportunity to engage yourself in a rewarding role which will keep you fit and on the beach across the summer.
“Lifeguards are one of the bedrocks of public safety up and down the coastline,” Paul continued.
“They’re the people that are out on the sand every day ensuring beachgoers are observing safe practices and can really enjoy themselves.
“Given the anticipated increase in beach visitation, we’re of the mindset that many hands make light work and we’d love to see some more people who are passionate about the beach joining up and leaving their footprint in the sand, so to speak.
“We know it’s going to be a great summer and that starts at our beaches.”
Express your interest in becoming an ALS Lifeguard by heading to https://lifeguards.com.au/nsw/ and following the prompts.
Training begins on August 27 and runs through September ahead of the season start on 24 September.
Friday 19 August 2022