In consultation with the Minister for Emergency Services and the NSW Police, Surf Life Saving NSW has advised that patrols will be withdrawn from beaches where crowds exceed 500 people.
Volunteer surf lifesavers and council lifeguards will be directed to withdraw patrols where there are large numbers of people present, in order to comply with the Government’s ban on mass gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is expected to immediately affect many beaches in metropolitan areas and particularly popular spots such as Bondi, Coogee, Maroubra, Sutherland Shire beaches, Byron Bay and Manly.
Additionally, surf patrol captains and club captains are being given the discretion to withdraw patrols if volunteers are concerned about their own safety, irrespective of the numbers of people on the beach.
Patrols will maintain a surveillance role where possible, and Support Operations teams will remain on callout duty to respond to coastal incidents and emergencies.
“This is yet another way in which we are reacting to a constantly changing public safety environment in regards to this pandemic,” said Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales.
“In the interests of public safety and the safety of our volunteers, we must heed the advice of the authorities and do what we can to put in place measures that might contain the spread of this virus,” he said.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said the organisation was in constant communication with the authorities and is keeping volunteers and surf life saving clubs updated.
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
- For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.