Surf Lifesaving has responded to the recommendations and findings issued by the Coroner earlier this week following the inquest into the death of Kingscliff man, James Harris.

The Coroner has recommended that a rapid response service be implemented to respond to any life-threatening situation at Kingscliff.

“We recognise that Tweed Shire Council needs the ability to review the findings and develop strategies in response the Coroner’s findings,” said Northern NSW Lifeguard Co-ordinator, Stephen Leahy.

“The Australian Lifeguard Service and our volunteer clubs will work closely with Council to provide any service that the Council deems appropriate and we will continue to provide advice on any ocean safety matter.”

Mr Leahy said that to ensure a rapid management of any major incident on a North Coast beach, Surf Life Saving NSW implemented an emergency call out system earlier this year. 

Locally, this system includes a fleet of rescue jet skis (operated by the Tweed Support Group), a Duty Officer system and a rapid response from lifeguard services.

All emergency operations are managed by the SLSNSW State-Wide Emergency Response system which has been supported by the NSW Police Service.

“In effect, police and ambulance services now have the ability to task surf lifesaving rescue teams directly as soon as a call comes in via the Triple 0 network,” said Mr Leahy.

The Emergency Services Officer for Surf Life Saving Far North Coast, Jimmy Keough, said that volunteers and lifeguards could now be sent to incidents quickly.

“Surf Lifesaving resources are located throughout northern NSW and these can be tasked to attend anywhere when the need arises,” said Mr Keough.

“Already this year, a number of lives have been saved at unpatrolled beaches and outside normal swimming hours due to the rapid activation and response of our resources.

“We have an excellent relationship with the police, ambulance and helicopter services, as well as the volunteer marine rescue agencies in the area, and we all work collectively to make our waterways safer.”