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Professional Lifeguards advocate safety first at Australian beaches

Professional Lifeguards advocate safety first at Australian beaches
November 30, 2014

With the commencement of the Australian summer, and beach visitations set to increase, the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association (APOLA) is reminding all those going to the beach to think about safety to ensure the take-home memories are enjoyment in the great Australian outdoors rather than a memory of an unwanted tragedy that a mistake in our surf can bring.

20-year veteran professional beach lifeguard and APOLA National Field Officer Greg Hackfath, who oversees beach safety on the NSW Coffs Coast as Coffs Coast Lifeguard Coordinator, said that all beach regulars and seasonal beach goers, be they swimmers, rock fishers, small boaters or surfers need to maintain a healthy respect for the ocean.

Hackfarth explained "eEveryone needs to plan for safety when out and about at beaches and at other open water locations. If people think safety first then a day at the beach can be great fun and add to the great memories that our Australian summer can bring."

APOLA Media spokesperson and senior professional ocean lifeguard at Australia’s busiest beach, Bondi, Terry McDermott, says that with summer temperatures expected to be above average people will be flocking to beaches and everyone must remember to properly check on what the wave and water conditions are like.

McDermott stated "be it cool and overcast, or hot and sunny, people should always think carefully about where they should swim, surf, fish or paddle. 

McDermott, who has spent over 30 years ‘feet-in-the-sand’ lifeguarding and reporting on weather and surf conditions along Australia's East Coast, added "always be guided by the lifeguards, read the beach signs and take time to check it out before you go out.”

APOLA President Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins who coordinates safety at Australia’s busiest beach Bondi, concluded "the best swimming locations are at supervised locations known as the area between the red and yellow flags. Going to an unsupervised beach is not a good idea unless you are an experienced surfer.  Know your limitations, learn how to read the conditions and never go in alone.”

APOLA's TOP 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

AND REMEMBER when out in the sun always SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SLURP and WRAP (slip on a shirt or rashie, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, drink water, and wear sunglasses)

The Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association Incorporated is a non-profit professional association that is recognised as the peak professional association for Australian professional beach inspector ocean lifeguards.

It promotes best practice in ocean water safety and beach management and coordinates professional ocean lifeguard activity in lifeguard training, community education, tourism support, public relations, regulation and risk management in consultation with Councils and their professional lifeguards. 

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

21st September 2012 - LIFEGUARDS PROTEST SUNSHINE COAST COUNCIL’S LIFEGUARD SERVICES CHANGES

21st January 2010 - PROFESSIONAL LIFEGUARDS REJECT ‘FLAWED’ SLSA RIP CAMPAIGN


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