New Year’s Safety Warning from Surf Lifesavers
With the mercury continuing to soar over the New Year’s period, tens of thousands of people are expected to hit the beach and Surf Life Saving Australia is pleading for all visitors to enjoy the beach safely by swimming at patrolled locations only.
Thousands of volunteers will give up their time on New Year’s Day as beach visitors escape the heat and take part in a time-honoured Aussie tradition of spending New Year’s at the beach.
Last season, 122 people drowned on Australia’s coastline, with 51 coastal deaths occurring during the summer period of 1 December – 28 February.
Since 1 December 2019 twelve people have tragically drowned along the coast of Australia, equal to the 15-year average for coastal drowning deaths.
After a horrific 2018 summer and year, which there was one of the highest drowning tolls in recent years, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) CEO, Adam Weir said surf lifesavers are calling on everyone visiting the beach to swim between the red and yellow flags.
“Nothing beats spending time with friends and family at the beach and with record temperatures across the country, our surf lifesavers are preparing for an influx of beach visitors.
“We are pleading with all visitors to not take unnecessary risks this summer, swim at a patrolled location and keep watch over one another, in particular supervise children at all times on, in and around water.
“Men continue to be overrepresented in our drowning statistics year on year, so while we ask all to not to take unnecessary risks and to not mix alcohol and swimming, we ask all males to especially heed this warning.
“While the beaches may be busy, there are plenty of patrolled locations so please take the time to find a patrolled beach near you and swim between the red and yellow flags,” he said.
Surf lifesavers and emergency service agencies have also been called to attend numerous incidents with boats and personal water craft (PWC)missing or in difficulty. The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter have been busy providing support coastal users around the country and within New South Wales to Police and Search for numerous incidents including searching for missing boats and persons.
“It is essential that when heading out on the water that boat owners and PWC users understand the risks that can present themselves. Please wear a lifejacket, have an EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon) and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. Similarly, rock fishers are encouraged to also not take unnecessary risks and to wear a lifejacket”. Mr Weir said.
Surf Life Saving Australia’s Beachsafe APP makes it easy for people to find their nearest patrolled beach.
Surf Life Saving Australia urges all heading to the beach to consider the following:
- Stop, Look, Plan
- Where possible, swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
- Obey the safety signs at the beach
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when on, in and around water
- Learn how to identify a rip current and look for rip currents before deciding where to swim
- If you’re not sure, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard about the beach conditions
- Wear a lifejacket while boating, rock fishing or paddling
- Don’t go into or on the ocean during severe weather warnings
- Take personal responsibility, think twice and assess your safety before entering the water
- Supervise children at all times in, on and around water.