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Port Stephens lifeguards to patrol One Mile Beach through winter

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To ensure swimmers’ safety throughout winter, Port Stephens lifeguards will continue patrolling One Mile Beach for a fourth consecutive year.

Since 2020, Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) members have been responsible for 21 rescues, more than 120 first aids, nearly 8,000 preventative actions and over 16,000 public interactions during the cooler months at the popular location.

As well, beach attendance has grown year-on-year, with almost 50,000 people estimated to have visited the area between June and August in 2022.

Lifeguards will be on duty between 9am and 4pm, seven days a week at One Mile, thanks to the support of Port Stephens Council.

The site also boasts an $840,000 state-of-the-art facility, which opened in 2017, that provides storage areas for surf lifesaving equipment, unisex amenities for staff, a first aid room and a shark observation tower.

The decision to fly the flags again comes after several major incidents in the region over the past few months, namely the drowning of a man at Fingal Spit in April and, less than a fortnight ago, when a male was pulled unconscious from the water by lifeguards at One Mile.

He was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital conscious and breathing following first aid attention. 

As a result, council elected to maintain the service through winter and into the next patrol season, beginning in September.

“Our focus is and always will be the safety of beachgoers on our coastline and it’s excellent to see that Port Stephens Council shares that focus,” ALS’s Chris O’Rorke said.

“While the winter months are often colder and see less overall beach visitations, the data we have collected over the past three seasons suggests there is a clear need for lifeguards at One Mile Beach.

“The work they do has lifesaving impacts.”

To compliment the continued service of the ALS, Surf Life Saving NSW is about to install an Emergency Response Beacon (ERB) at Fingal Spit with funding support from the NSW Government.

ERBs utilise the latest technology to connect the user straight to the SLSNSW State Operations Centre (SOC) where an operator can alert the nearest lifesavers, lifeguards or other emergency service.

ALS members will oversee three key locations through winter – Main Beach in Byron Bay, Town Beach in Port Macquarie and One Mile Beach in Anna Bay.

As always, the organisation urges all beachgoers to take advantage of the service and swim at a patrolled location. 

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