‘Change every hour’: Warning to swimmers after mass rescue on NSW beach amid heightened Bank Holiday risks
Lifeguards rescued three people from the same rip on a NSW beach, while Surf Life Saving Australia is issuing double drowning risk warnings over bank holidays and long weekends.
The triple rescue took place at Bulli Beach, north of Wollongong, on Thursday morning as temperatures peaked at 32C in NSW.
A group of 12 people were also rescued at nearby Woonona Beach, while there were more than 20 individual rescues in Maroubra alone.
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NSW lifesavers carried out a total of 295 rescues as nearly a million people flocked to the state’s beaches on the Australian bank holiday, Surf Life Saving NSW said.
It warned drowning risks more than double on bank holidays – and quadruple on Australia Day, when many people traditionally spend the day on the beach or on a waterway. Alcohol is also often involved.
“Alcohol can also be a factor, but it’s mostly the number of people swimming at an unguarded spot on these busy days, often to escape the big crowds at popular beaches,” Surf Life Saving NSW told 7NEWS.com. ouch
“The most important message is to swim between the flags on a patrolled beach as this will be an area with no currents and lifeguards will be there to respond if you get into trouble.”
Swimmers are also advised to educate themselves about currents and recognize them effectively.
Figures from Royal Life Saving Australia also show that the risk of drowning increases on bank holidays, with more people arriving on both patrolled and unpatrolled beaches, combined with some swimmers being ignorant of currents and local waterways.
“Always remember that water conditions can change hourly and most of these areas are not patrolled by lifeguards,” said Justin Scarr, CEO of Royal Life Saving Australia.
Telltale signs of a rip current are usually dark patches of water, less breaking waves, a rippled surface surrounded by still water, areas where debris and seaweed collect, and sandy-colored water behind the surf.
Surf Life Saving NSW confirmed three people who were swept away by a crack at Bulli Beach were successfully rescued and did not require medical attention.
In another mass rescue in Woonona, 12 people were successfully pulled from the water and did not require medical attention.
Summer drowning statistics
At least 51 people have drowned in Australia this summer, with more than half of those drownings occurring in coastal areas without lifeguards, said Adam Weir, chief executive of Surf Life Saving Australia.
“We’ve lost 28 people along our coast this summer alone, with all of the drowning fatalities occurring outside the red and yellow flags, either in unguarded locations or outside of patrol hours,” Weir said.
The majority of drowning deaths occur in NSW, with 20 deaths this summer, followed by Queensland with 10 drowning deaths.
https://7news.com.au/news/nsw/change-hourly-warning-to-swimmers-after-mass-rescue-at-nsw-beach-amid-heightened-public-holiday-risks-c-9565697 ‘Change every hour’: Warning to swimmers after mass rescue on NSW beach amid heightened Bank Holiday risks