SUMMER is on its way and the Australian Lifeguard Service, Port Stephens Council and local Surf Life Saving Clubs are preparing for another busy beach season.
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The number of visitors to Port Stephens beaches grew by a staggering 20% during 2017-2018 to 617,000 people, with numbers expected to continue rising.
With that in mind, lifeguards at One Mile Beach will begin their patrols in time for the long weekend this Saturday 29 September.
Volunteer lifesavers will patrol both Fingal and Birubi Point beaches on weekends and public holidays from 29 September, while the professional lifeguard service begins from Tuesday 2 October.
Council’s Contracts and Services Coordinator, Ian Crawford says both professional lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers play an important role over the warmer months.
“Last year, our lifeguards made 33 rescues, gave 271 first aid treatments and took more than 64,000 preventative actions to keep our locals and visitors safe on Port Stephens beaches,” Mr Crawford said.
“That’s an incredible amount of work! We know that our community is in safe hands with both our Australian Lifeguard Service and our volunteer Surf Life Saving Clubs.
“This year, the community will benefit from the brand new One Mile Beach Lifeguard Facility, which includes an elevated shark tower, first aid room and safe storage for lifesaving equipment. It’s one of the best facilities in the state.”
Surf Lifesaving Clubs will provide Volunteer Lifesaving Services on weekends and public holidays at Fingal and Birubi Point beaches.
Port Stephens Lifeguard Supervisor Phil Rock says beachgoers should remain vigilant.
“Our safety message is simple — always swim at a patrolled location, always stay between the red and yellow flags, and never swim alone,” Mr Rock said.
“Make sure you follow the directions of lifeguards or lifesavers and if you’re ever unsure of ocean conditions, just ask us for advice — that’s what we’re here for!”