Local beach goers will welcome the start of the 2013-2014 swim season this Saturday 21 September.
Wollongong City Council lifeguards will be patrolling 17 beaches between Stanwell Park and Windang from Monday to Saturday, with volunteer Surf Lifesavers patrolling on Sundays and public holidays. Patrols will continue until the end of the Easter school holidays in 2014.
Council’s pools will also open for the season on 21 September.
Council’s Recreational Services Manager, Mark Bond, said that Lifeguards have been preparing for another busy season in the lead-up to this weekend’s launch.
“Last season we were fortunate not to have any fatalities on Wollongong’s beaches, and we’d like to repeat that in 2013-2014.”
“We’re asking visitors and locals at our beaches to take precautions and ensure their safety this season. Always check conditions before entering the water, listen to lifeguards, and remember if there’s no flags, there’s no swimming. It’s just not worth the risk, no matter how calm the water might look.”
Mr Bond said Council had been working hard both on and off-season to improve people’s understanding of beach safety.
“We’ve taken our Surf Education program to 7,300 students in the local area, to teach them how to enjoy our beaches safely. Our staff have also given talks to high school students in the western suburbs of Sydney, as lots of people from that area visit our beaches in the warmer months,’’ Mr Bond said.
“We’ve added QR codes to our patrolled beach signs, so people can quickly get specific water safety information on local conditions using their smart phones, and we’re working with Surf Life Saving Australia to provide real-time updates through their Beachsafe app.”
Lifeguard amenities at Coledale, Sandon Point and Towradgi have recently been upgraded, and Council is working to improve patrol sightlines through its Dune Management program.
A new emergency response beacon will be placed at the southern end of City Beach so in an emergency situation people can get a direct link to Lifeguards during patrol hours. This new feature is similar to the beacon which was introduced near Puckey’s Beach last year.
Council has also produced a series of four short videos to show people the rules of the beach, and focus on three of our most dangerous beaches – Puckey’s, Coniston and Stanwell Park. These videos are available on Council’s website.
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