THE Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) has concluded its patrols for the 2013-2014, which saw more than 160,000 people visit the eight ALS patrolled beaches in the Bega Valley Shire.
While attendance for this summer season was lower than the previous two seasons, Bega Valley Shire remains one of the busiest regions in the state for beach goers over the summer with lifeguards having to be extremely proactive when dealing with the 160,886 people during a busy one month window.
Despite the drop in beach attendance, lifeguards actually carried out more rescues this year - 219 up from 178 - which can be contributed to more large swell events over the corresponding summer period.
Lifeguards also made 10,803 preventative actions including instructing swimmers to move out of dangerous areas or ensuring they swim between the flags.
First aid cases were again high across the region and lifeguards were kept extremely busy performing 611 first aid treatments throughout the summer including a spinal and two major wounds.
Merimbula Main Beach was clearly the busiest beach in the region with 40,771 visitors and it also had the most rescues at 74, while Bar Beach had 35 per cent of all first aid cases in the shire at 214.
The ALS is the largest provider of professional lifeguard services in the country.
ALS lifeguard services coordinator Brent Manieri said the Bega Valley Shire Council was extremely supportive of the lifeguard service this season and praised lifeguards efforts.
“Once again the Australian Lifeguard Service has completed an extremely successful season where a wide variety of conditions were experienced by our lifeguards,” Mr Manieri said.
“The professionalism that our lifeguards continue to exhibit and the enthusiasm they show for the job means the public were vigilantly watched and provided with the highest service.
“It should be noted that lifeguards volunteered their time on certain occasions to watch over large crowds of people, even when their shift had finished ensuring there were no incidents and the public were kept safe.
“It is this sort of dedication that makes working with our lifeguards such a joy.
“Council has once again been extremely supportive this season and we look forward to further improving beach safety and working collaboratively with them leading into next season.”
Many NSW councils have realised the benefit of ensuring a total service provision as the ALS integrates with Surf Life Saving’s volunteer patrol structure, state-wide support operations network, 24-hour emergency call-out system and strategically located Westpac Rescue helicopter services.