Beach season begins

with raising of the flags!

Have your swimmers and beach towels ready, as 15 Central Coast beaches and The Grant McBride Baths began their 2023/24 Beach Patrol Season from last Saturday.


The season commenced with an official raising of the flag’s ceremony at Terrigal Beach, hosted by Surf Life Saving Central Coast.

27 September 2023


COUNCIL'S Unit Manager Leisure Beach Safety and Community Facilities, Phil Cantillon said the red and yellow flags signify lifeguards and lifesavers have returned to patrol to keep our community safe when enjoying our beautiful coastline.


“Council's lifeguards and Surf Life Saving volunteers provide search and rescue services for our coastal beaches, as well as emergency medical care when required,” Mr Cantillon said.


“They also play an important role in educating swimmers and visitors on beach and water safety.


“The 2022/23 season concluded with 1,742 rescues and treated over 3,200 first aid incidents. This is a timely reminder to the community that while we have lifeguards and lifesavers on patrol, it is important to stay up to date with safety messaging so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable season.”


Key safety tips include:


  • Take the time and drive five more minutes to a patrolled beach and swim in between the flags


  • If you get into difficulty, stay calm, raise your arm and yell for assistance


  • Never run or dive into the water, as the depth can change quickly


  • Children should always be supervised by an adult at all aquatic locations


  • If you are unsure of the conditions, ask a lifeguard or lifesaver


  • Always listen to the lifeguards and lifesavers


  • Avoid swimming for at least one day after heavy rain to decrease exposure to stormwater pollution


  • Be aware of obvious signs of pollution such as litter, odours and surface scum following heavy rain


  • If you’re going rock fishing, be sure to plan ahead - wear appropriate safety equipment, let others know where you are going and carry a charged phone.


Council Administrator, Rik Hart said both Council lifeguards and Surf Life Savers are committed to supporting a safe season ahead.


“As with past seasons, the goal is to ensure that everyone who visits our beautiful waterways do so safely,” Mr Hart said.


“I urge the community to keep safety top-of-mind and encourage residents and visitors alike to find their closest patrolled location this summer.”


Council lifeguards patrol our shorelines between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, and Surf Life Saving volunteers keep everyone safe on weekends and public holidays.


During the busy Christmas holiday period the 15 beach locations and The Grant McBride Baths will be patrolled for an extra an hour (9am-6pm) from 18 December 2023 to 28 January 2024.


Council also has a suite of serviced beach wheelchairs available for free hire, along with beach matting installed at several beaches across the Coast.


And while beachgoers enjoy their day at the beach, they can comforted to know that the NSW Government has announced the biggest funding commitment ever for Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW), pledging an additional $23 million over four years to help keep NSW beaches safe.


It comes as more than 20,000 active SLSNSW volunteer lifesavers begin the patrol season today, with the symbolic raising of the red and yellow flags at Maroubra Beach, Sydney.


With predictions of a hot and dry summer, the funding commitment reinforces the critical role of SLSNSW in safeguarding the lives of NSW beachgoers.


Last year was one of the worst for drowning fatalities, with 48 lives tragically lost along the NSW coastline and 26 coastal drownings recorded over the summer months.


Beachgoers are being urged to exercise caution and observe water safety advice from lifesavers and lifeguards this patrolling season, which runs until 28 April 2024.


The increased funding for SLSNSW will build on its capacity to protect lives over the warmer months.


As part of the funding package, SLSNSW will receive $18 million over four years through the NSW Rescue Capability Grant, for additional resources and equipment including 67 rescue watercraft, such as jet skis.


The funding will also deliver 40 permanent Emergency Response Beacons in blackspot locations, helping SLSNSW extend services in unpatrolled areas in an effort to reduce coastal drownings.


Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns said “New South Wales has the best beaches in the world and we’re incredibly fortunate to have the best surf life savers as well.”


“We have very dedicated, very brave volunteers, who often put themselves into dangerous situations to help others.”


“We want everyone to be able to enjoy our beaches safely. This is an important investment in life saving technology and human capital, so we know we have the resources we need right up and down the coast this summer.”


The government’s investment in SLSNSW will also support the upgrade, restoration and construction of surf lifesaving facilities through an additional $5 million over four years for the Office of Sport’s Surf Club Facility Program.


This program aims to assist eligible Surf Life Saving Clubs to develop facilities that will enable increased participation in Surf Life Saving for all people, increase facility usage, and improve safety.


Minister for Sport Stephen Kamper said “Surf Life Saving Clubs provide a vital service, protecting people in the water and supporting a healthy lifestyle and often lifelong passion for members.”


“Our volunteer surf lifesavers are on our beaches, rain, hail or shine, protecting the community and ensuring people are safe at the beach.”


“The record funding for the Surf Club Facility Program will provide our surf life savers with more modern, inclusive and accessible facilities that will better enable them to keep the community safe at the beach.”


SLSNSW is one of the largest volunteer organisations of its kind in the nation with a membership of more than 75,000.


Additionally, these Surf Life Saving Clubs serve as vital community hubs across NSW.


On top of the $23 million, the national body Surf Life Saving Australia will receive almost $5.8 million over four years for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.


President of Surf Life Saving NSW Peter Agnew said “This is a great time to remind the community about the benefits of volunteering to be a lifesaver.


“You can volunteer as little or as much as you like and in every role, from admin, to first aid, to teaching Nippers or helping in the club canteen.”


“You can learn new skills like flying a drone or driving an inflatable rescue boat, improve your fitness and mental wellbeing and be part of a great community.”


“Finally, I want to thank our lifesavers for again standing tall and protecting our beaches and I wish them all a safe summer.”


For more information and find your nearest Central Coast patrolled beach location, search ’beaches’ at

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