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Lifesavers concerned about Easter long weekend drowning spike

Lachlan Roberts 18 April 2019

Easter Friday to Monday accounts for nearly five per cent of the total drownings for the entire season. File photo.

Lifesavers have shared their fear of the “notoriously high-risk” for drownings on the NSW beaches over the Easter long weekend holiday, with surf lifesavers on standby for the busy two-week period.

Over the last three seasons, NSW has averaged a coastal drowning every 8.9 days, which spikes to a drowning every two days over the Easter long weekend.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said the four day period from Easter Friday to Monday accounts for nearly five per cent of the total drownings for the entire season, with volunteer lifesavers performing between 300-500 rescues on average over Easter.

Emergency callouts also increase significantly and incidents are between three and five times more likely to occur over the Easter long weekend than an average patrol day. Mr Pearce is urging tourists to take extra care this weekend.

“Lifesavers and lifeguards will be out in force this Easter and Anzac Day period but we need the public to also take responsibility for their own safety,” Mr Pearce said.

“If you’re heading to the beach over Easter please take care. Only swim at a patrolled location, check the weather and tide forecasts, and wear the correct safety gear including a lifejacket if you’re fishing from rocks or boating,” he said.

Mr Pearce expects many people to make the most of the break and head to the beach or inland waterways to keep cool, with a run of above-average temperatures expected across much of the coast this weekend.

“Sadly there have been 32 coastal drownings in NSW since July with 19 over summer alone,” he said.

“These figures are very concerning and highlight the need for us to remain vigilant and make sensible decisions for ourselves and our families.”

The volunteer surf lifesaving season ends on Sunday 28 April 2019.

Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
  • 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 always supervise children around the water
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police
  • For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.

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