Tensions remain high between surfers and lifeguards at Austinmer.
Last month, a group of board riders allegedly ignored repeated requests to stay outside the flags, forcing the Lifesavers to pull swimmers from the water, to keep them safe.
Wollongong Council is aware of the issue, saying they’re working with beachgoers to ensure equal access for everyone, and that lifeguards have the power to issue penalty notices.
Council’s Property and Recreation Manager Peter Coyte says Austinmer is a challenging space.
“There is a limited area for surfers and swimmers,” he says. “In addition, the beach is prone to rips and unsafe swimming conditions which means, to ensure everyone can use the beach, surfers and swimmers can often be in close proximity.
“Council’s staff have the authority to gather information about board riders who are not following safety signage, or surfing between the flags and to enforce these provisions under the Local Government Act, including the issuing of penalty infringement notices.
“Council’s lifeguards will continue to work with all beach users to follow correct beach behaviour.”