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Beaches turn red and yellow flagging start of season

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Thousands of volunteer surf lifesavers across NSW will return to the beach today for the first patrol of the season.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott joined lifesavers at Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club to raise the first iconic red and yellow flags of the new patrol season and highlight the new challenges brought about by COVID-19.

“With a near-record 49 drownings in NSW last year and seven coastal fatalities since 1 July this year, the state’s surf lifesavers are on high alert,” Mr Elliott said.

“However surf lifesavers face an added challenge this season, record spring temperatures leading into summer and overseas travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are expected to bring an influx of tourism to local beaches.

“Clubs are prepped and ready with additional measures including PPE and modified Standard Operating Procedures, to protect their members, enabling them to continue to provide frontline beach safety services safely.”

The NSW Government is asking all beachgoers to ‘Keep a beach towel length between you’ (1.5 metres) when enjoying the beach this summer.

Surf Life Saving will be assisting authorities by providing information on overall beach attendance. Drones (UAVs) can also be used to estimate numbers on beaches and identify other hazards to the public along the coast.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steve Pearce is urging the public to be patient and cooperate to stay safe at the beach this season.

“With 129 patrolled locations there is plenty of beautiful coastline for everyone to discover and enjoy,” Mr Pearce said.

“Please don’t take unnecessary risks that could put your life and those you love in danger as well as put unnecessary strain on our volunteers. We are prepared but we need the cooperation of everyone to keep our beaches open and safe for everyone to enjoy.”

The Surf Lifesaving Patrol season runs until Sunday 25 April 2021. For the latest updates on COVID-19 beach safety advice visit the website.

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