Surf Lifesavers have been responding to numerous incidents across the Christmas period, including overcrowding at Batemans Bay’s Surf Beach and a drowning at Mungo Brush, Myall Lake, north of Newcastle, on Saturday (26 December).
On Sydney’s Northern Beaches, COVID restrictions were an issue at some locations. Large numbers of people led some beaches to be closed by Councils and beachgoers encouraged to stay at home.
On the South Coast at Batemans Bay and in parts of Wollongong, beaches were deemed to be over-crowded and restrictions were implemented. Alerts were issued on the Beachsafe website and app for locations including Surf Beach at Batemans Bay and Austinmer in Wollongong.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said lifesavers responded to a number of incidents, including 158 rescues conducted by volunteers throughout NSW.
“Emergency incidents have been significant this weekend – 71 in total. There were 38 on Sunday alone,” said Steve Pearce.
Despite COVID cases continuing on the Northern Beaches, flags will be flying at beaches on Monday, with lifeguards providing patrols across the region, ensuring the safety of people attending beaches for recreation or exercise.
Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales said he was proud of the efforts of lifesavers across the state in keeping people safe over Christmas.
“I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who are giving up their time to patrol beaches across NSW. This is traditionally a very busy period and we’ve seen large crowds heading to the coast. We are urging everyone to play it safe around the water and make sure you head to a patrolled location where lifeguards or lifesavers are on duty,” said George Shales.
Since 1 July 2020, there have been 17 coastal drownings recorded in NSW waters.
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
For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.
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