With their pre-season training completed and surf rescue skills finely honed, Sutherland Shire Council’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguards Unit has officially flagged the start of another summer beach season to support beachgoers to safely enjoy their time in the water and on the sand.
Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce welcomed the return of the beach season, which saw flags go up and patrols commence from Saturday 24 September.
“Sutherland Shire is home to over five kilometres of beaches that attract more than seven million people on average per year, and our lifeguards have been hard at work preparing to keep beachgoers safe by recently completing their comprehensive training courses which include a broad range of safety and incident response programs,” Mayor Pesce said.
“It was great to get down to the lifeguard headquarters recently and once again see first-hand of the collaborative efforts between different directorates of Council and the support of the community to get our beaches back in shape for the start of season.
“Our lifeguards reported a reasonably quiet start to the beach season over the weekend, with warmer weather on Sunday tempting more beach goers out, but those who do head to the beaches in coming weeks can rest assured that out Ocean Safety and Lifeguards team are on hand and ready to respond as needed.”
Sutherland Shire’s patrolled beach swimming areas are located at Cronulla Beach, North Cronulla Beach, Elouera Beach and Wanda Beach, and are patrolled daily between September to April from 8am to 5pm (6pm Daylight Saving Time). Greenhills beach will also be patrolled daily during school holidays from December to January from 10am to 5pm.
“Our lifeguards are highly skilled and have access to a host of equipment including jet skis, ATV’s, drones and a complete coastal safety CCTV network that covers all areas of Bate Bay. Emergency Response Beacons (ERB) are also located at unpatrolled locations including Blackwoods Beach, Greenhills Beach (Track 1 and Track 6) and Potter Point at Kurnell so that with the press of a button, a member of the public can be connected to the Surf Life Saving State Operations Centre (SOC) and Council lifeguards for immediate assistance,” Mayor Pesce said.
To ensure everyone can enjoy their time along the coastline, Council will once again roll out its range of free accessibility services as part of its ‘Beaches for Everybody program’.
“For many people, gaining access to the sand or ocean can be quite challenging, which is why we are proud to continue to improve beach access for those with limited mobility by providing three different beach wheelchairs and a Mobi Mat which can be rolled out over the top of soft sand to ensure everyone can get to the water’s edge,” Mayor Pesce said.
“With the weather predicted to be less inviting for beach goers as we head into summer, we expect to see a slower start to our beach season, but that’s no reason for people not to heed a few important beach safety messages when they do hit the water,” Mayor Pesce said.
“We remind beachgoers to please swim at patrolled beaches, in between the red and yellow flags, know your capabilities and, if there is a ‘beach closed’ sign or you don’t see the flags, please stay out of the water.”
The wheelchair facilities are available to book for use throughout the season, with Council Lifeguards on hand for support.