They’re back!

Far North Coast surf lifesavers will be back on patrol this weekend. Beaches from Yamba right up to Fingal Head will gladly welcome back the red and yellow caps.

Surf Life Saving NSW, in partnership with local councils, will provide safe swimming areas as well as undertake rescues, undertake first aid treatment and provide surf and beach safety advice.

Lifeguards contracted to local councils and a support operations fleet of rescue jet skis, duty officers, Communication Centres and the Ballina Jet Rescue Boat will join volunteers from Far North Coast clubs in protecting beaches from Duranbah through to Yamba.

“Our lifesaving services play an important part in ensuring the northern NSW coast remains one of Australia’s top summer destinations,” said Stephen Leahy, Northern NSW Lifeguard Co-ordinator.

“The briefings that we have had so far indicate that we are in for a very warm summer.

“We’re looking forward to a busy summer and the community can assist us in ensuring they enjoy our beaches in safety.

“Make sure that you only swim at patrolled beaches.

“Stay between the red and yellow flags which mark the safe swimming locations.

“Surf lifesavers and lifeguards are there to make sure you stay safe but it so important that people share the responsibility by not taking silly risks.”

Far North Coast lifesavers recently attended their annual branch conference held at Ballina which focused on the forthcoming season and featured discussions on how they can educate the public and be more efficient in aquatic safety.

“Representatives from all clubs attended and from this weekend on will put into practice what they learnt from the conference,” Mr Leahy said.

“Each beach on the North Coast has varying surf conditions that can sometimes be dangerous to those who are unfamiliar with a particular beach or break, and that following some commonsense rules can avert a tragedy.”

Fingal Rovers club aptain Christopher Samuels said: “Besides the vast number of locals that swim at our beach, we have a greater number of tourists, especially that we have a caravan park right on the beach, that are unfamiliar with the type of beach conditions.

“We always advise that you swim between the flags, and obey the directions of a Surf Lifesaver or lifeguard when swimming.

“Should anything happen, we are in immediate contact with Surfcom, our radio communications centre who can summon help immediately”.

Beach patrols will continue through the summer season until the end of the autumn school holidays next year, with all clubs and lifeguards patrolling beaches from Yamba to Fingal Head.

Yamba Surf Life Saving club will also be holding their Centenary Celebrations this weekend, which will also help kick-start the season with a craft carnival on Saturday and Sunday September 27, 2008.