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This weekend heralds the start of a new patrol season for NSW surf lifesavers as they return to protect the public on beaches across the state from tomorrow.

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, has officially opened the Surf Life Saving patrol season today at the iconic Manly Life Saving Club in Sydney.

From this Saturday 28 September, over 21,000 active volunteer surf lifesavers from 129 surf clubs will hit beaches across the state, patrolling on weekends and public holidays through until the end of April 2020.

“In the last 12 months, volunteer surf lifesavers rescued almost 4000 people from drowning across NSW,” Minister Elliott said.

“Our surf lifesavers are an essential part of our community and I want to thank all those who selflessly dedicate their time to protecting others on beaches and along our coastline,” he said.

Surrounded by a sea of surf lifesavers and Manly Nippers, Minister Elliott and Member for Manly James Griffin MP officially raised the first flags of the new patrol season.

Also unveiled today at Manly was the first of a new generation Emergency Response Beacon (ERB) which will be installed at key drowning hotspots and unpatrolled locations over summer.

Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales said the organisation’s focus on technology solutions for preventing drownings is a key priority. Thirty-five of the ERBs will be installed across the state over the next four years, funded by the NSW Government.

“This technology is one example of new and innovative solutions being explored and tested to help prevent drowning and keep the public safe in NSW waters,” said George Shales.

“Activating the emergency call button on the ERB will link someone immediately to our State Operations Centre and we can then task the closest lifesaving asset to respond. A camera on the beacon can be activated by our operators, giving them the ability to view the emergency unfolding so they can better direct response assets,” he said.

These ‘smart’ beacons can also be programmed to display real-time weather information, beach safety warnings, shark alerts or first aid instructions.

With 44 coastal drownings recorded in NSW last season, the state’s surf lifesavers are on high alert for what is expected to be a very hot, dry summer.

Member for Manly James Griffin expressed his thanks on behalf of the NSW Government, for the enormous contribution made by the 75,000 members of Surf Life Saving NSW.

“I can’t thank the volunteers here at Manly Beach and throughout the state enough for their commitment to protecting us on the beach and increasingly beyond the flags and outside patrol times,” said James Griffin. “The NSW Government is proud to support our surf lifesavers to do what they have done so well for over one hundred years.”

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.


Friday 27 September 2019