Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Rescue tubes trialled at Coffs Harbour beaches to help reduce drownings

Rescue tubes trialled at Coffs Harbour beaches to help reduce drownings
December 2, 2019

In a joint project between Coffs Harbour City Council’s Lifeguard Service and Sawtell Surf Lifesaving Club, rescue tubes that members of the public can use in an emergency, are being trialled at Sawtell Beach through the peak holiday season.

Rescue tubes are specially designed flotation devices, normally used by lifeguards or lifesavers to assist in water rescues, that can help support the victim’s and rescuer’s weight to make a rescue easier.

Greg Hackfath, Council’s Lifeguard Services Team Leader advised “with most drownings occurring either outside patrolled areas or outside patrol times, it’s vital that we look at all options when looking for ways to prevent more deaths. It’s also an unfortunate fact that would-be rescuers can often be among the fatalities in a drowning incident, so providing a flotation device they can easily access could be vital.”

The trial was proposed by former lifeguard and Sawtell Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC) member – and long-term local – Mick McGavigan who has long supported providing a remote rescue device, such as a rescue tube, at key locations along the coast.

More recently, Greg Hackfath also suggested the idea after attending the 2017 World Conference on Drowning Prevention where the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association outlined the success of their remote rescue tube program. Council and Sawtell SLSC have been working together over the past 12 months on developing the trial.

Sawtell Beach was selected for the trial as it is a popular beach with patrol services provided by both Council Lifeguards and Sawtell SLSC. The trial will be conducted from December 2019 to March 2020.

The purpose of the trial is to test the use of this equipment in reducing bystander drownings, to weigh up whether this approach is viable and also its potential for use in other locations, bearing in mind the potential resource costs and availability of project partners.

Council will administer the program and Sawtell SLSC will assist in the monitoring of the rescue tube units.

To find out more about the trial, go to Council’s Have Your Say website

This web page is also encouraging people to report any use of the tubes or other feedback.

Image: Sheena McTackett, President of the Sawtell SLSC, and Maddi Carah, Council Lifeguard, with one of the Rescue Tubes.

Related Articles

7th November 2019 - NSW lifeguards look to halt drownings of foreign swimmers this summer

10th October 2019 - New Surf Life Saving Club Patrol Tower opens at Seacliff

27th September 2019 - Coffs Harbour and Sydney claim wins World Festival and Event City Awards

26th September 2019 - Sutherland Shire lifeguards complete training in time for summer season  

22nd May 2019 - Federal Government won’t deliver on APOLA funding plea to reduce drownings

29th April 2019 - Surf Life Saving Australia shares beach safety challenges

21st April 2019 - Rescuers drown after boat flips in surf off Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

18th April 2019 - Surf Life Saving NSW urge Easter water safety

7th February 2019 - Surf Life Saving Australia receives funding for its Seniors fitness program

22nd December 2018 - Surf Life Saving NSW jet ski fleet boosted to increase beach safety for swimmers

10th December 2018 - Lotterywest provides $700,000 to Surf Life Saving WA to support nippers program

8th December 2018 - Surf Life Saving New Zealand partners to launch summer water safety campaign

19th January 2018 - Australian lifesaving drone in world first ocean rescue

14th December 2017 - Surf Life Saving Australia reveals 116 coastal drowning deaths in 2016/17

29th April 2015 - Professional Ocean Lifeguards gather on the Coffs Coast

24th December 2017 - Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association issues beach safety reminder

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 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

The P.A. People

The P.A. People is a specialist contractor in the areas of Sound Reinforcement, Performance Lighting, Audio Visual Systems, Video and Communications. Over the past 40 years we have developed a…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Sport / Technology / Venues


Fun Wheels Pty Ltd

Fun Wheels Pty Ltd are the premium dealer in Australasia for the Dutch company BERG’s commercial and domestic products. Our flagship product is their revolutionary pedal go-kart – the…

read more

Attractions / Tourism / Venues


Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues



Ausfit began in 1992, providing software services to the health and fitness sector including ClubWise, a fully hosted web-based product which combines state of the art club management software,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Technology



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues



Centaman has been a market leader in Enterprise Software Solutions for the leisure and recreation industry and both profit and not-for-profit attractions since 1991. It offers a wide range of software…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Ticketing


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



Vticket Pty Ltd is the Australian and New Zealand distributor for Gateway Ticketing Systems Inc., the world leader in high-speed access control, admission control and ticketing software for the…

read more

Attractions / Security / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


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