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Volunteer lifesavers on the North Coast are calling on the public to take extra caution when heading to the coastline after a string of after-hours incidents at Park Beach in Coffs Harbour and surrounds.

Notably, an incident on Sunday evening, 7 January, at a time the flags would usually have been down saw lifesavers activated and assist in the rescue of a group of six swimmers who were in distress at the northern end of Park Beach.

Volunteers alerted the Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre to the incident unfolding after 5pm, with four of those in trouble making it back to shore while a fifth was picked up by lifesavers in the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB). The final person was assisted from the water by a member of the public.

“The lifesavers stayed back as they often do when they see it is necessary and launched the IRB and did make a rescue,” confirmed North Coast Director of Lifesaving, Jayne Morrison.

It comes after incidents late on Saturday 6 January and Monday 8 January, the latter at nearby Moonee Beach, which occurred outside of patrol hours and away from the red and yellow flags.

All persons involved in those incidents are now safe and well.

It’s prompted North Coast lifesavers and SLSNSW to encourage tourists and locals to the area to take greater caution when they visit the coastline.

“Our lifesavers are good people who stay back when they need to, they’re community minded and they want those visiting the region and locals to be safe,” continued Jayne.

“With Coffs Harbour specifically where we see a lot of tourists at this time, there’s a lot of caravan parks and they’re in lovely spots but the ocean near them isn’t necessarily the safest.

“We just want people to look for the flags and if they don’t see lifesavers on the beach, exercise surf safety and take caution or don’t enter the water.”

“We’re very pleased that our volunteers on the North Coast are taking public safety seriously and extending their hours when they deem the conditions require it,” said SLSNSW Director of Lifesaving, Joel Wiseman.

“Our lifesavers are highly trained and professional but they’re also regular men and women who are giving up their time to be at the beach patrolling, and we’re proud to have such dedicated and passionate volunteers up and down the NSW coastline.”

Thursday 11 January 2024