Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Leading professional lifeguard says swim between flags message is ‘desirable but unrealistic’

Leading professional lifeguard says swim between flags message is ‘desirable but unrealistic’
December 15, 2017

With two people having drowned on the NSW north coast in the past week, leading professional lifeguard Greg Hackforth has stated that an expectation that all beachgoers will swim between the flags all the time is unrealistic.

Greg Hackforth,  Lifeguard Co-ordinator for Coffs Harbour City Council and a former President of the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association (APOLA) has told the ABC that while swimming between the flags is the most desirable outcome, the reality was quite different, particularly for swimmers in regional areas.

Hackforth stated "if you look at Sydney's coastline there's a lot of patrolled beaches around the area, but on the north coast you've got long stretches of beach that are unpatrolled.”

Hackforth said surf patrols outside cities were generally limited to weekend windows or school holidays, and that swimmers don’t just go to the beach during those times.

He explained “in Coffs Harbour our last patrol is 5 o'clock. During peak summer periods you've got two hours of daylight after that and it can still be 30 degrees plus.

"It is an unrealistic expectation that people are going to swim between the flags all the time."

This week Surf Life Saving NSW again urged people not to swim at unpatrolled beaches, after the death of an 11-year-old boy at Lighthouse Beach near Port Macquarie and a 21-year-old man who drowned just south of Byron Bay.

But with 13 recorded drownings along the NSW coast since July - four more than the same time last year - the ABC has questioned whether improved lifeguarding services should be offered or whether these are greater deterrents for people swimming at beaches that are not monitored.

NSW Police said the boy who drowned at Lighthouse Beach with his family when he was swept away in a rip. The local council website shows the beach will not be patrolled by lifesavers until the school holiday period on 18th December,and then between 9am and 5pm.

Tallow Beach, where the 21-year-old man drowned while swimming on a Wednesday, is only listed as being patrolled on weekends.

Hackforth said he would never encourage someone to swim at an unpatrolled beach, but the reality was that people did.

Surf Life Saving New South Wales Chief Executive Steven Pearce said he understood how enticing it could be for swimmers take a dip and sometimes avoid a longer drive to a patrolled area.

But he urged people to remember the consequences could be devastating, telling the ABC “we've had two tragic drownings and that brings the NSW coastal drownings total to 13 (since July).”

Pearce acknowledged that lifeguards could not be everywhere all the time for everyone, adding “if you are venturing out at an unpatrolled beach for whatever reason, and our message is please don't, then obviously you need to identify what a rip current is.

"If you're second guessing, don't enter the water at all."

Pearce said SLSNSW was bringing in drone technology initiatives for the upcoming summer to help address the issue of people swimming on unpatrolled beaches.

He said the drones would give lifeguards extra eyes and visibility of areas where they could not be in places all the time.

Image: Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie.

14th December 2017 - SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA REVEALS 116 COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS IN 2016/17

30th June 2017 - ROYAL LIFE SAVING REPORT REVEALS NON-FATAL DROWNING INCIDENTS ARE ON THE RISE 

12th January 2017 - LIFEGUARDING PROFESSIONALS ACT ON ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ NSW DROWNING TOLL WITH WATER SAFETY CAMP

6th January 2017 - BONDI RESCUE EDUCATES THE WORLD ABOUT BEACH SAFETY 

28th January 2016 - LIFE SAVING LEADERS RECOGNISED BY AUSTRALIA DAY HONOURS

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 

28th November 2013 - OCEAN RIPS KILL MORE THAN BUSHFIRES, CYCLONES, FLOODS OR SHARK ATTACKS 

11th October 2010 - SURF DROWNINGS INCREASE DUE TO CHANGING AUSTRALIA


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

ICP

ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation

 
 

PathMinder

PathMinder Pty Ltd have partnered with AllUser Industries srl to bring Europe’s most advanced high security portals to the Australian and New Zealand markets. AllUser Industries started to…

read more

Access / Fitness / Recreation / Security

 
 

The P.A. People

The P.A. People is a specialist integrator and contractor in sound reinforcement, audio visual systems, performance lighting and production communications. Over its almost 50 year history the company…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Sport / Technology / Venues

 
 

Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport

 
 

Pricemark Pty Ltd

Pricemark supplies a wide range of custom branded membership & RFID access products for the Health & Leisure Industry. 

read more

Access

 
 

WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks

 
 

TICKETSERV

As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Events / Sport / Ticketing

 
 

AlphaFit

AUSTRALIAN MADE. FIT FOR PURPOSE. AlphaFit is a 100% Australian owned family company manufacturing gear specifically for the strength and conditioning, functional fitness and high-performance…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business