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Dusk patrols to heighten safety in Port Stephens following recent drownings

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In the wake of recent drownings in the region, volunteer lifesavers will conduct dusk patrols to heighten safety in Port Stephens.

An incident at the weekend, at Birubi Beach, was the third fatality in nine weeks, following the deaths of swimmers at Boat Harbour and Stockton in October and November respectively.

A man, described as being middle-aged, had been pulled from the water at Anna Bay unconscious and not breathing.

Despite the efforts of off-duty lifesavers, he died a short time later.

Now, as the Hunter prepares to host an increasing number of visitors over Christmas/New Year – with many coming from outside the area to enjoy the coastline, the volunteers are determined to ensure everyone is safe and sound throughout the peak holiday season.

Dusk patrols are scheduled between 4pm and 7pm, with one operating out of the Fingal Beach SLSC and covering the northern end of Port Stephens.

A second will operate out of the Birubi SLSC and oversee the southern tip.

“One of the primary roles of this initiative is education,” Hunter duty officer Glen Dunkley said.

“We want to promote safety messaging to as many people as possible.

“Our NSW SLS Branch Support Operations teams will be proactively engaging with beach and rock platform users during this time and, naturally, will respond to any incidents that might occur.

“The patrols will generally include a duty officer, a jets operator, a volunteer lifesaver and a UAV pilot if available.

“They’ll travel in a rescue vehicle with a jet ski in tow.”

All three recent drownings occurred outside of patrol hours or outside the red and yellow flags.

Dusk patrol members will be equipped with multilingual beach safety and education handouts as an additional safety measure.

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 locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.

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