Lifesavers: Stay safe in surf during busy holiday season

Surf watcher Elliott Creagh said there were some good pits and barrels over the weekend in Byron Bay, with surfers getting stuck into the festive Christmas spirit.
Surf watcher Elliott Creagh said there were some good pits and barrels over the weekend in Byron Bay, with surfers getting stuck into the festive Christmas spirit. Elliott Creagh

FAR North Coast Surf Life Saving is expecting a busy holiday season on our beaches this year.

The service recently doubled its fleet of jet skis to six, with the skis earmarked for use across unpatrolled beaches from Yamba to Tweed Heads.

"We'll be upping our jet ski patrols along some of those remote beaches during the Christmas holidays," Life Saving director Ben Redman said.

"We want to educate people and prevent any tragedies from occurring."

Mr Redman said recent king tides and strong swell had caused sandbanks and rips to shift across the coastline, making swimming at unpatrolled beaches even more dangerous.

"There's been a lot of sand movement due to the big tides, so there's some deep gutters that weren't there previously," Mr Redman said.

"A lot of the unpatrolled beaches are where we're having people getting into difficulty. People go in because the water looks alright but a big tidal surge can come in and sweep them off their feet. If there is an issue there can also be quite a lengthy time delay to get help."

Notorious hot spots include Chinamans Beach near Evans Head, South Ballina, Lighthouse Beach (Ballina) and several stretches of back beach, such as Fingal Head to Kingscliff.

"Particularly where you've got campers and holidaymakers driving along the beach and go for a swim in these remote areas ... it's very hard to access for volunteers," Mr Redman said.

At patrolled beaches, lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers can read the conditions well, move the flags if needed, or if it's not safe at all, close the beach.

Patrols - When and Where:

Most patrols finish on January 28, except Main Beach, which continues to June 9.

All patrols operate from 9am-5pm except Main Beach, which is 9am-6pm.

Beach

No of Lifeguards

Days per week

Start Date

Finish Date

SouthGoldenBeach

2

7

Thur 20/12/2012

Tue 29/1/2013

BrunswickHeadsMainBeach

2

5

Thur 20/12/2012

Mon 15/04/2013

Tue 29/01/2013

Fri 26/04/2013

FirstSunHolidayPark

2

7

Thur 20/12/2012

Fri 29/3/2013

Sat 13/4/2013

Tue 29/1/2013

Mon 01/04/2013

Sun 28/04/2013

*ByronBayMainBeach

2

5

Mon19/11/2012

Sun 09/06/2013

The Pass

1

7

Sat 22/12/2012

Fri 29/03/2013

Mon 28/01/2013

Mon 01/04/2013

Wategos

1

7

Sat 22/12/2012

Fri  29/03/2013

Mon 28/01/2013

Mon 01/04/2013

Tallow Beach

1

7

Sat 22/12/2012

Fri 29/03/2013

Mon 28/01/2013

Mon 01/04/2013

SuffolkPark

2

7

Thur 20/12/2012

Tue 29/01/2013

Broken HeadBeach

2

7

Sat 22/12/2012

Mon 28/01/2013

Note - The Surf Life Saving Volunteers will patrol Brunswick Heads and Byron Main Beaches on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays during the 2012/2013 Season.

The Pass, Wategos and Tallow Beaches fall under the Management of the Cape Byron Headland Trust.

Water safety:

  • Never swim in periods of low light;
  • Always swim between the red-and-yellow flags;
  • Never swim when affected by drugs or alcohol;
  • In any aquatic emergency dial 000 and state your location and distress.

Topics:  surf life saving



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