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Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association issues beach safety reminder
The Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association (APOLA) says everyone needs to continue to play it safe at beaches so loved ones and friends can take home memories of enjoyment rather than an unwanted memory of witnessing or being involved in a beach drowning tragedy.
Entering the peak Christmas period, 25-year professional beach lifeguard veteran and APOLA National President Greg Hackfath, who oversees beach safety on the NSW Coffs Coast, said that both regular and seasonal and occasional beach goers, be they swimmers, rock fishers, small boaters or surfers need to maintain respect for the ocean and always think safety first when out and about at beaches and at other open water locations.
Hackfarth explains “if people think safety first then a day at the beach or out on the lake or lagoon can be great fun.”
Hackfath said with recent north coast NSW tragedies still vivid in our minds, and summer temperatures expected to remain above average, that people flocking to beaches over the December-January holiday period must remember to properly check what the actual beach and conditions are like before even thinking of going in.
Hackfath,who also has spent decades surfing, as well as working as a professional ocean lifeguard, added “be it cool and overcast, or hot and sunny, people should always think carefully about where they should swim, surf, fish or paddle. When that sun starts to shine and you want to gain relief from the summer heat you need to make good decisions about where to go in at our beautiful beaches.
“Always be guided by the lifeguards, read the beach signs and take time to check it out where best to go in before you go out.”
NSW APOLA Vice-President and Bondi Resuce, Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins says the best summer swimming locations are at supervised locations known as that area between the red and yellow flags. Going to an unsupervised beach is not a good idea unless you are an experienced surfer and even the experienced need to remember their limitations.
Hopkins, who regularly runs surf safety clinics with lifesaving legend Craig Riddington, when he is not at work in charge of Australia’s busiest beach, Bondi, says everyone should learn how to read the conditions, learn about rips in well supervised practical in-water programs and never go in alone.
APOLA's Tope six beach swim tips:
1. Bathe and swim between the red and yellow flags which indicate the supervised swimming area: No flags = No Swim
2. Look for, read and obey water safety signs
3. Check water conditions and the water depth before bathing or swimming - never dive head first
4. Bathe and swim under supervision or swim with a mate - never go in alone
5. Never bathe and swim directly after eating or under the influence of drugs including alcohol
6. Learn how to recognise rips and keep clear of these areas - if caught in difficulty stay calm, float with the current and call out ‘Help’ and wave an arm if help is nearby
Image of Greg Hackfarth courtesy of Coffs Coast Focus.
14th December 2017 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA REVEALS 116 COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2016/17
6th January 2017 - BONDI RESCUE EDUCATES THE WORLD ABOUT BEACH SAFETY
7th January 2016 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA ASKS BEACHGOERS TO PLAY A ROLE IN SAFETY
27th December 2015 - PROFESSIONAL LIFEGUARDS HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR SAFETY FIRST AT THE BEACH
29th April 2015 - PROFESSIONAL OCEAN LIFEGUARDS GATHER ON THE COFFS COAST
30th November 2014 - PROFESSIONAL LIFEGUARDS ADVOCATE SAFETY FIRST AT AUSTRALIAN BEACHES
1st October 2014 - AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT MOVES TO CUT DROWNING DEATHS
14th February 2014 - GOSFORD LIFEGUARDS WIN ANNUAL BONDI LIFEGUARD RELAY
3rd January 2014 - PROFESSIONAL LIFEGUARDS SAY SAFETY FIRST AT AUSTRALIAN BEACHES
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