As NSW Schoolies celebrations are about to begin, Surf Life Saving NSW is urging partying teens to make their visit to the beach a safe one.
With school leavers descending on NSW’s popular coastal towns from this weekend, teenagers are being reminded to play it safe while enjoying the ocean.
Lifeguards and lifesavers will be out reinforcing the ‘Don’t Drink and Swim’ safety message in the key holiday hotspots up and down the NSW coast including Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.
“Schoolies is a busy time for our lifesavers, especially with many taking major risks by swimming outside patrolled areas, under the influence of alcohol and drugs or at night,” said NSW Lifesaving Manager, Andy Kent.
“Lifesavers are worried about the possibility of a preventable tragedy if these risks are taken, especially at night time. As always our volunteer callout teams are ready to respond to after-hours incidents.”
However, many schoolies groups are broadening their scope beyond these traditional haunts and will be escaping to smaller seaside towns along the coast such as Forster, South West Rocks and Batemans Bay. Many of these beaches are unpatrolled during the week and teenagers are urged to take care.
The Australian Lifeguard Service has boosted numbers from last weekend to deal with the influx of beachgoers at Schoolies’ hot spot, Main Beach in Byron Bay.
“Our lifeguards at Main Beach have seen an increase in beach goers over the last few weeks and they’re expecting many more to visit this popular spot from tomorrow,” said ALS NSW Manager Brent Manieri.
“At the end of the day, young people need to make smart decisions about where and when they swim, choosing a patrolled beach and swimming between the flags is the smartest decision they can make,” he said.
Schoolies are also encouraged to keep hydrated and be sun smart, both of which will help reduce the risk of fatigue at the beach, particularly if swimmers have consumed alcohol the previous evening.
To help ensure Schoolies remains incident free, there are some simple preventative actions school leavers can take to make sure their stay is safe and enjoyable.
Schoolies Safety Checklist:
- Only swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
- Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Never swim at night
- Ask a surf lifesaver or lifeguard for advice
- Look after your mates
- Call ‘000 – Police’ to report an in-water emergency
Visit Beachsafe for vital information like patrolled beach locations, hours of operation, beach status and surf conditions.