The Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) has concluded its patrols for the 2013/2014 surf lifesaving season which saw more than 273,000 people visit the ten ALS-patrolled beaches from Evans Head in the south to the Tweed in the north.
In the Tweed, lifeguards were kept extremely busy with beach attendance up by 9% on the previous season with rescues also increasing from 47 up to 105.
Salt Main Beach was the busiest beach with 71,006 people while the most rescues and first aid cases were at Duranbah with 41 and 27 respectively.
First aid treatment was down across the region by 64% which can partly be attributed to fewer bluebottles during summer. However there were still a number of serious incidents including four occasions where lifeguards performed CPR at Duranbah, Cabarita and Kingscliff (twice).
The season saw more than 844,000 people visit Byron Bay, Byron Shire and Cape Byron Trust beaches and more than 161,000 visit Ballina Shire.
Byron Bay’s main beach continues to be one of the busiest beaches in NSW with 588,094 people visiting over the 7 month patrolled period. This is followed by First Sun beach with 83,577 people.
The Byron region had 100 rescues led by Main Beach with 39 and Wategos with 38, while first aid treatments totalled 432 including 252 at Main Beach and 96 at First Sun.
In Ballina Shire Council beach attendances increased by 56% led by Lennox Head with 113,670. Lifeguards were extremely proactive across the region with rescues down by 48% to 15 while preventative actions were up by 48% to 13,644.
Preventative actions include instructing swimmers to move out of dangerous areas or ensuring they swim between the flags.
Richmond Valley Council’s Evans Head recorded a huge 61% increase in beach attendance compared to the previous season including 13 rescues, 3207 preventative actions and 24 first aid treatments.
The ALS is the largest provider of professional lifeguard services in the country. ALS Lifeguard Services Coordinator Brent Manieri said the Tweed Shire Council was extremely supportive of the lifeguard service this season and praised lifeguards’ efforts.
‘Once again the Australian Lifeguard Service has completed an extremely successful season where a wide variety of conditions were experienced by our lifeguards’, said Mr Manieri.
‘The professionalism that our lifeguards continue to exhibit and the enthusiasm they show for the job means the public were vigilantly watched and provided with the highest service.
‘It should be noted that lifeguards volunteered their time on certain occasions to watch over large crowds of people, even when their shift had finished ensuring there were no incidents and the public were kept safe.
‘It is this sort of dedication that makes working with our lifeguards such a joy.
‘The Byron Shire Council as well as the Cape Byron Trust have once again been very supportive this season and we look forward to further improving beach safety and working collaboratively with them leading into next season.’
Many NSW councils have realised the benefit of ensuring a total service provision, as the Australian Lifeguard Service integrates with Surf Life Saving’s volunteer patrol structure, state-wide support operations network, 24-hour emergency callout system and strategically located Westpac Rescue helicopter services.