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As NSW volunteer surf lifesavers prepare for what promises to be one of their busiest patrol days of the season they are urging the beach-bound public to be careful around the ocean as they begin to celebrate 2018. 

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO, Steven Pearce, is urging everyone planning to head to the coastline to celebrate the New Year to take their safety seriously.

“There are a number of simple ways you can help ensure that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable time on the beach. Always swim at a patrolled location between the flags and very importantly, don’t enter the water under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Mr Pearce.

“Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of the beach going public, and while our volunteers and support teams will be ready in the event of emergencies, we’d ask the public to make the job of lifesavers and lifeguards as easy as possible by looking out for their own and others safety.”

New Year’s Day is traditionally one of the busiest days of the season as revellers flock to the ocean to cool off or head to summer holiday destinations, and while it is a day to celebrate, it is also one where situations can escalate, particularly at unfamiliar beaches.

Unfortunately the unpredictability of the ocean environment was highlighted on the final day of 2017 with a number of serious incidents.

A young man in his 20s drowned at Frazer Park Beach near the Lake Munmorah Conservation Area on the Central Coast after getting caught in a rip while swimming.

That incident takes the coastal drowning toll to at least 19 since July with the rising number a concern for everyone in the lifesaving community.

Earlier on Sunday in Sydney a multi-agency operation was launched after a rock fisher was swept off rocks at Little Bay. After CPR treatment he was later transported to hospital in a serious condition.

Finally at Moruya, lifesavers rushed to the aid of a 66-year-old man who collapsed from a suspected medical episode at the end of the opening day of the George Bass Surf Boat Marathon.

The members involved were subsequently involved in a critical incident debrief to ensure their welfare at this difficult time.

It has been a busy festive season for NSW lifesavers with volunteers performing at least 300 rescues during the six-days of patrol over the Christmas break, while the State Operations Centre was responsible for tasking assets to 30 separate incidents.

Volunteer lifesavers will be patrolling each weekend and public holiday until flags fall on the 2017/18 season on Sunday 29 April 2018.

Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website

  • Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information

  • Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water

  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm

  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police

  • Don’t forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated

  • For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App

Monday 1 January 2018