It’s been a busy and productive summer for Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) professionals tasked with keeping the beaches on the Far North Coast safe.
The popularity of the region as a tourist destination continues to rise with a significant number of visitors recorded at the 14 ALS patrolled beaches across Byron Bay, Cape Byron Ballina and Richmond Shires.
Over a million beach visits were recorded throughout the region during the 2014/15 season.
It has been a year of change for lifeguards within the area with Main Beach Byron Bay now patrolled year-round in response to the increasing number of visitors. The move has been warmly received and has increased the area’s reputation as a premium tourist destination.
There has been greater emphasis on preventative actions throughout the last year as lifeguards attempt to stop situations from escalating to the point of having to carry out a rescue.
Throughout the three council areas around 60,000 preventative actions were done by lifeguards.There were more rescues performed in the Ballina Shire this summer in comparison to 2013/14, but there was also a corresponding increase in beach attendance.
Lifeguards were kept busy administering first aid treatments for injuries ranging from suspected spinal injuries to fractures, lacerations and marine stings. In total 984 were performed in Byron Bay with over a third Main Beach as well as 222 in Ballina and 27 in Richmond.
Australian Lifeguard Service NSW Coordinator Brent Manieri commended the efforts of lifeguards and councils in protecting beach users.
“The Far North Coast is a huge area of coastline that provides a number of unique challenges for our lifeguards, however the professionalism that they continue to exhibit and the enthusiasm they show for the job means the public were vigilantly watched and provided with the highest service.”
“The ALS enjoys a great relationship with Byron Bay, Ballina and Richmond councils and we look forward to working with them to continue our core mission of keeping beaches across the Far North Coast safe for everyone to enjoy,” Mr Manieri concluded.
Many NSW councils have realised the benefit of ensuring a total service provision, as the Australian Lifeguard Service integrates with Surf Life Saving’s volunteer patrol structure, state-wide support operations network, 24-hour emergency callout system and strategically located Westpac Rescue helicopter services.
Byron Shire Council 2014/2015 Statistics:
Rescues – 139
Preventative Actions – 43,906
First Aid – 984
Attendance – 767,535
Ballina Shire Council 2014/2015 Statistics:
Rescues – 29
Preventative Actions – 16,596
First Aid – 222
Attendance – 177,943
Richmond Valley Council 2014/2015 Statistics:
Rescues – 12
Preventative Actions – 1,617
First Aid – 27
Attendance – 31,927