Christmas Day traditionally sees many families heading to the coast and while beaches are expected to be inundated during the holidays the message from Surf Life Saving Australia is simple – swim only at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags.
SLSA General Manager Coastal Safety, Shane Daw said this Christmas, please swim at a patrolled beach and keep watch over your loved ones and mates.
“The safest way for all Australians to enjoy our coastline this summer is to find a patrolled beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
“Rip currents are the leading hazard across our coastline and can change shape and location quickly.
“On any given day, there are about 17,000 rips at beaches around Australia. Our job as surf lifesavers is about helping people identify the safest place to swim at our beaches.
“If you do find yourself at an unpatrolled location, STOP, LOOK and PLAN before entering the water,” he said.
Tragically, between 2004-2020 a total of 69 people have lost their lives attempting to save someone who got into trouble, more often than not it was a loved one. Already this summer we have seen more lives lost while attempting to save others.
“We have seen this season the heartbreaking loss some families have experienced when loved ones have attempted to rescue their friends and families only to get in trouble themselves,” said Daw.
“It’s important to look out for your mates and your loved ones this Christmas – and also do the right thing, swim between the flags and understand your limitations.”
71% of fatal coastal bystander rescues occurred in regional or remote areas with 78% occurring more than 1km from the nearest surf lifesaving service. In 97% of incidents a floatation device was not used.
For more information on how to stay safe when visiting the beach this summer, or find your nearest patrolled location, visit www.beachsafe.org.au or download the BeachSafe APP.