Surf life saving patrol season starts with Raising of the Flags

The Raising of the Flags at Woopi beach signals the return of the surf life saving season.

SURF Life Saving (SLS) patrol season was officially welcomed at Woolgoolga over the weekend with the time-honoured tradition of Raising of the Flags.

On Saturday morning, 23 September, members of the Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club and supporters gathered on the sand.

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An iconic part of the community, North Coast SLS has been supported by Newcastle Permanent for nearly 20 years.

Joining the flag raising on the Woopi beach, Newcastle Permanent Branch Manager Erica Farag said the customer-owned organisation is honoured to support the region’s Surf Life Saving clubs, which dedicate thousands of hours each year on patrol.

“It was wonderful to be back on the sand to ring in another season of surf life saving,” Erica told News Of The Area.

“There’s a strong force of volunteer life savers ready to look out for our community’s beachgoers this summer.

“We are proud to support North Coast SLS to help ensure the region’s life savers have important training, equipment, and resources,” she said.

Last year alone, 2,300 members volunteered their time, together clocking up nearly 22,500 patrol hours.

“Our proud partnership with North Coast SLS ensures the sustainability of this community service through recruitment, recognition and retention of local life savers.

“It’s wonderful to see the iconic red and yellow flags return again this season.”

North Coast Surf Life Saving President Les Pepper said safety is more important than ever this year, as evidenced by how busy his volunteers were last summer.

“Our members rescued 54 people last year, administered first aid 53 times, and completed nearly 2,000 preventative actions to keep local beachgoers safe,” said Les.

“As a result of our skilful members and their ongoing commitment, there were no drownings on our patrolled beaches.

“We are thankful for the support of Newcastle Permanent, which provides important resources and training for our life savers.”

Every year, Newcastle Permanent invests almost $1.5 million into local communities through its partnerships, employee donations, volunteering and fundraising programs.

North Coast Branch has eight clubs, from Nambucca Heads to Minnie Water-Wooli.

People interested in joining the Surf Life Saving movement can find their local club at


North Coast Surf Life Saving’s Les Pepper, Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, Newcastle Permanent’s Annette Gaddes and Erica Farag, and volunteer life savers.

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