Surf lifesavers have joined forces with emergency services including the NSW Police, Ambulance Service, and Marine Rescue NSW to reinforce safety on the coast in the lead-up to the Australia Day long weekend.
Representatives from the agencies involved in keeping beachgoers safe were all on hand at South Maroubra beach alongside volunteer surf lifesavers, nippers, and Randwick Council Lifeguards in a united front to deliver the important safety messages.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce is anticipating a busy day on the state’s beaches.
“Australia Day is always a big day for our volunteers and we’re gearing up for the crowds expected to flock to a beach with thousands preparing to make the most of the last long weekend of summer.
“Our message is simple - we want people to enjoy the day but to do so safely by swimming at a patrolled location and not mixing water and alcohol,” said Mr Pearce.
With January 26 forecast to be another hot day across NSW, lifesavers aren’t the only ones preparing for a big day on the water.
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said simple steps could save lives on the water.
“Wear a lifejacket, check conditions and your vessel and Log On and Log Off with your local Marine Rescue NSW unit,” he said.
“Tell us where you are going and when you are due back. If you don’t return on time, a search can be quickly organised,” Mr Tannos said.
The message from Marine Area Command was simple; water safety is the responsibility of everybody.
“With large crowds expected on our waterways this Australia Day, Marine Area Command officers will be out in force to ensure the public’s safety and it is everyone's responsibility to keep our waterways safe.
“In particular skippers and passengers need to ensure their own safety, as well as that of others on the water,” said Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings, Commander, Marine Area Command.
“Marine Area Command officers will be conducting random alcohol and drug tests on the water. Skippers are reminded the same 'drink-driving' and 'drug-driving' rules apply on the water as they do on our roads.”
He also added that anyone planning to head out on the water needs to be aware of the conditions and any exclusion zones in place.
With 13 coastal drownings since the state of summer and a spate of other incidents, paramedics have responded to numerous coastal emergencies.
“Anybody who has experienced the horror of a drowning or near-drowning knows it is extremely traumatic for everyone, especially when children are involved. It has an immense effect on emergency service personnel as well,” said NSW Ambulance Superintendent Ryan Lovett.
As an experienced paramedic, Superintendent Lovett knows the dangers of alcohol around the water all too well, and had a powerful message aimed at those who are looking to cool off after the celebrations.
“Alcohol increases risk taking behaviour. It impairs judgment and will often lead to people overestimating their abilities and physical fitness in water.”
“Just avoid alcohol around water, especially if you plan to swim or if you’re supervising children,” he said.
The unified message from the water safety agencies is crystal clear.
Don’t become another statistic.
NSW Surf Lifesavers will be patrolling beaches around the state this long weekend from January 26 – 28. Please visit www.beachsafe.org.au for further safety tips
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.
Thursday 25 January 2018