Illawarra Newsroom

Illawarra Lifesavers Challenging Weekend Praised​

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A long weekend, heatwave conditions and large swells kept lifesavers busy in the Illawarra. On Sunday 24 January alone, Illawarra surf lifesavers and Wollongong City Council Lifeguards Performed 75 rescues and 1,606 preventative actions

Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Lifesaving Joel Wiseman praised the efforts of NSW volunteers and fellow emergency service teams on the eve of what is expected to be the busiest day of the year on our beaches. "I can't emphasise how proud we are of our lifesavers and support operations teams," said Wiseman.

"From the thousands of preventative actions to dealing with search and rescue and fatalities, our lifesavers are so vigilant on and off patrol and are doing an incredible job out there on the frontline this summer. I'd like to thank those in the Illawarra for being particularly outstanding over the weekend." 

Across the weekend Surf Life Saving Illawarra conducted 77 rescues between Helensburgh/Stanwell Park and Windang as well 76 First Aids and attending 11 emergency callouts including attendance at the tragic triple rock fisher fatality at Port Kembla on Friday night.

“Thank you to our Clubs, Support Operations and Wollongong City Council Lifeguards,” said Surf Life Saving Illawarra Director of Lifesaving Daren Weidner today after a challenging weekend. “Thanks to the professionalism, dedication and cooperation of our teams we have proved how effective and collaborative we can be under testing conditions.”

“Tragically lives were lost this weekend out of patrol hours. Our lifesavers need the public to take on board the safety messages around not only beach safety but also rock fishing,” said Weidner. “Please don’t fish in dangerous conditions on rock platforms, wear a lifejacket and don’t fish or swim alone or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”

Weidner urged everyone heading to the beach tomorrow to swim between the red and yellow flags, listen to lifesavers and stay away from rock ledges. “The ocean is still unpredictable in the Illawarra, people were swept off rocks yesterday," he said. "Please limit the inherent risks that come with unpredictable swells”.  

Since 1 July 2020, 27 people have drowned on the NSW coastline, with six fatalities in the last week.

Rock Fishing Safety Tips

  • Check the weather, surf conditions and tides before going fishing
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
  • Always wear a lifejacket
  • Wear appropriate non-slip footwear and light clothing
  • Always fish with a friend
  • Check the warnings signs for information about the area
  • Never turn your back to the water
  • Do not try and retrieve anything that has fallen into the water
  • Do not jump in if someone falls into the water - wait for assistance or throw an ‘Angel Ring’ or Lifebuoy if there is one nearby
  • Additionally, boaters are urged to always check conditions prior and to log on with their local Marine Rescue Base via radio or using the Marine Rescue App. Visit www.mrnsw.com.au for more information
  • Call Triple Zero – Police to report an in-water emergency

Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
  • Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information
  • Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water
  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero

For information about patrol times, weather, and beach access restrictions visit the Beachsafe.org.au Website or Download the App

Image Credit: SLSNSW Media

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