VOLUNTEER surf lifesavers will lower the flags on NSW beaches on Anzac Day following what has been an action-packed and demanding patrol season.
Twenty-one-thousand patrolling members have collectively given over 560,000 hours of their time to ensure the safety of around six million beachgoers throughout the season.
More than 3900 beachgoers were rescued in the last eight months, and more than 15,100 required first aid.
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A key focus this season has been lifesavers intervening in situations before they became potentially dangerous, and as a result over 111,000 preventative actions were undertaken.
Preventative actions include things such as asking swimmers to swim between the flags, and communicating to the public, hazards such as sandbars, submerged rocks and powerful currents.
Sadly, however, there have been 31 coastal drownings since the start of July last year.
Surf Life Saving NSW Operations Manager Andy Kent praised all the volunteers for their commitment to surf safety, while also reminding people to stay safe along the coast during the cooler months.
“The dedication and commitment shown by all our volunteer lifesavers has been fantastic, and we thank them very much for their efforts,” Mr Kent said.
“They have certainly had a busy season and have risen to the challenges along the way.
“Although the official season ends this Anzac Day, our members will be winding down but will be ready to respond throughout the winter months to any coastal incidents through our Surf Rescue Emergency Response System.
“And we know these efforts are appreciated by the public, NSW Police and other emergency services.”
Mr Kent also highlighted the many opportunities for surf lifesaving members to hone their skills over the break.
“Many of our members will also use the winter to keep their skills sharp by competing in the Inflatable Rescue Boat Series and to further their education by taking part in a range of refresher or advanced rescue or first aid training courses.”
“There will also be lifesavers continuing their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle training through our supporters Little Ripper Group.”
Some beaches across the state will continue to be patrolled by lifeguards throughout winter. For patrol times and further information, please visit www.beachsafe.org.au.
The 2017/18 Patrol Season will commence on Saturday 23 September.