Opinion | Lifesavers busy in first weekend of summer

Surf Lifesavers at Birubi Beach.
Surf Lifesavers at Birubi Beach.

Surf lifesavers around the state were kept on their toes on the opening weekend of summer with thousands descending on the ocean as a means of cooling off.

The 2018/19 patrol season officially got underway in late September and as the mercury steadily rose throughout spring lifesavers began to anticipate a busy start to summer.

Those predictions proved eerily accurate last weekend as the frontline volunteers became involved in 232 rescues across the state – the most recorded this season so far.

The majority of these incidents occurred at beaches in the Central Coast Sydney Northern Beaches and Sydney Branch areas with the rescue logs detailing 89, 43, and 77 rescues respectively.

While there were no major incidents at Fingal and Birubi beaches on the weekend, volunteer lifesavers have been busy since the start of the patrol season.

Since the start to the patrol season on September 29, Birubi lifesavers have made two rescues and have carried out 305 preventable actions.These actions de-escalate a situation before it arises.

At Fingal Beach, lifesavers have been involved in four rescues and 201 preventable actions.

Unfortunately there were a number of tragic incidents that marred the weekend. Sadly, despite the best efforts of emergency services, a man couldn’t be revived after getting into difficulty while swimming at the Colo River in Northwest Sydney.

Two young children were rushed to hospital on Sunday after they were pulled from the water at Narrabeen Lake.

Regardless of whether you are at a beach, swimming in a river, or splashing around a backyard pool – be it in Port Stephens or elsewhere across the state – it’s incredibly important to keep an eye on young children as accidents can happen so quickly.

With the hot conditions expected to continue well into the new-year our volunteer surf lifesavers will be on patrol each weekend ready to respond to any emergency situation.

However, there are some things you can do to stay safe while swimming, including: always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, 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 never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Steven Pearce, Surf Lifesaving NSW CEO