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The 2022-23 Surf Life Saving season will go down as one of the most challenging on record for volunteer surf lifesavers and their Australian Lifeguard Service counterparts in NSW, who were responsible for more than 4,600 rescues along our coastline.

The season, which began with the September school holidays in 2022 and concluded on ANZAC Day last week, saw lifesavers and SLSNSW lifeguards complete 4,605 rescues, take an enormous 810,704 preventative actions on our beaches, and deliver just shy of 10,000 first aids – 9,640 in all.

The statistics also include an incredible 13 million beach attendances recorded at patrolled locations during the season.

These preliminary figures are only expected to grow over the coming days and weeks as more clubs submit their final stats for the season.

The Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre (SOC) dealt with 2,183 incidents and requested 418 ambulances over the course of the seven-month season.

“I am very proud of each and every one of our more than 76,000 volunteer members state-wide for their actions during the latest patrol season,” SLSNSW President, George Shales said.

“Every volunteer has a role to play in the lifesaving functions our organisation is responsible for. What we’ve seen over the past few months is record numbers of rescues, which in turn is a result of great determination, dedication and a true reflection of how our lifesaving movement makes a telling impact.

“Our lifesavers and lifeguards were responsible for the most rescues in years and completed nearly 1 million preventative actions. These numbers reflect a truly impressive effort from our membership with the sole focus of saving lives and protecting beachgoers on our coastline.”

Sadly, and despite the best efforts of lifesaving personnel across the state, 50 people have drowned since 1 July 2022 in NSW coastal waters, all at unpatrolled locations or outside of patrol hours.

With two more months until the end of the recording year, lifesavers fear the figure may surpass last year’s record coastal drowning toll of 55.

To help combat this, the NSW Labor Government has made a $23 million increased commitment to Surf Life Saving in NSW – a meaningful  action aimed at directly addressing and improving lifesaving capabilities across the state.

“Preliminary statistics from SLSNSW shows the summer patrol season was operationally one of the busiest in its history,” Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib said.

“An amazing 4600 rescues were performed by our volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards. This is 4600 lives that have been saved by these skilled and brave personnel. Tragically though, we have seen 50 coastal drownings, all in unpatrolled locations.

“This increased operational activity – the number of lives saved, but also the large number of lives tragically lost, reinforces the NSW Labor Government’s commitment to an additional $23m in funding to Surf Life Saving NSW.

“This will ensure its 76,000 volunteers have the best equipment, the best training and the greatest ability to save more lives and protect our communities and visitors along the NSW coastline.

“This will be a lifesaving investment.”

Tuesday 2 May 2023