Beach safety information to be available in other languages

EACH year about 185,000 international tourists visit the Northern Rivers area and unfortunately a small number never makes it back home.

Earlier this year, three Korean nationals were added to the number of foreign visitors who drown at the region's beaches where too many overseas visitors come to have an enjoyable beach holiday but end up losing their lives in the surf.

To address the over-representation of foreigners in the area's drowning statistics, the newly formed North Coast Destination Network (NCDN) has joined forces with Surf Life Saving (SLS) NSW to provide beach safety information in seven languages.

Visitors from China, Mandarin and Cantonese speakers, Korea, Japan, India, Malaysia and tourists speaking Arabic will soon be able to read beach safety information in their own language and receive life-saving advice.

The information, in the shape of brochures, cards and DVDs, will be available at visitor centres, airports and language schools in the area between Port Stephens and Tweed Heads.

Northern Rivers Destination Network international marketing manager Russell Mills said this was a simple but effective initiative which could make a world of difference.

"It's basically NCDN and SLS NSW putting their heads together and coming up with a solution to a persistent problem," Mr Mills said.

In the season of 2010/2011, about 7075 rescues were made by SLS members with another 1040 rescues completed by Australian Lifeguard Service members.

Although the two services accomplished about 350,000 preventative actions, a total of 22 coastal drownings still occurred.

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