Surf Life Saving NSW is urging the public to stay home and away from beaches and the coastline over the Easter long weekend.
Thousands of Australians traditionally head to the beach at Easter. But with many NSW beaches closed due to the threat of Coronanvirus and no volunteer lifesavers on duty, the message from surf lifesavers these Easter holidays is “be a lifesaver – stay home”.
The Easter long weekend is historically one of the most dangerous periods of the season for NSW coastal drownings. Last Easter almost 500,000 people visited NSW beaches. Surf lifesavers and lifeguards were on duty and performed 324 rescues and 20,000 preventative actions. Tragically, two lives were lost in NSW over the Easter long weekend last year (2019).
Surf Life Saving NSW brought forward the end of the 2019/20 patrol season in support of the Government’s advice to stay home, social distance and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission – and to reduce the chance of volunteer lifesavers being exposed to the Coronavirus while on duty.
Hazardous surf conditions are forecast for most of the NSW coast from Saturday 11 April 2020 through to Monday 13 April 2020. Large and damaging swell is forecast to impact the majority of the NSW coastline. People who do visit the coastline, particularly rock fishers, are urged to be extra vigilant. Although beach patrols are cancelled, surf Life Saving NSW emergency response services remain on standby along the NSW coastline to respond to Triple-Zero emergency calls.
Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales said supporting the Government’s efforts to slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission and keeping surf lifesavers safe, were the priorities. He said that when the red and yellow flags aren’t flying, it simply isn’t safe to swim.
“We know that the Easter long weekend is synonymous with getting outside and enjoying the coastline. But this weekend we’re sending Australians a strong message to listen to the Government’s social distancing warnings and stay off the beach,” said Surf Life Saving NSW President, George Shales.
“Volunteer surf lifesavers across NSW will not be on duty and patrolling as usual,” added Director of Lifesaving Joel Wiseman. “Many of our most popular NSW beaches are closed due to COVID-19 and we’re urging anyone who doesn’t heed the warnings and visits the coast to be extra vigilant and to call emergency Triple-Zero if they see anyone in distress in the water.
“We have emergency response teams on standby right across the coast that include jetskis Offshore Rescue Boats, Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs) and drones (UAVs) that will remain on standby and ready to respond to any coastal emergency.
“We all need to play our part and stay safe. This Easter our message is really simple; be a lifesaver – stay home,” Wiseman said.
Visit beachsafe.org.au or download the Beachsafe App, for beach closure information.
Since 1 July 2019, 34 people have drowned on the NSW coastline.
Hazardous Surf Conditions Safety Tips
- Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves
- Don’t swim at unpatrolled beaches. See the Beachsafe Website for patrolled locations/times
- Check the official Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast before undertaking rock fishing and water activities
- Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket
- If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero – Police
Source: Surf Life Saving NSW