All major beaches in New South Wales will stop patrols where the crowds exceed 500 people.
The advice comes after Minister for Police David Elliott announced earlier today, that Bondi Beach is now closed, after beachgoers disregarded social distancing advice.
Volunteer surf life savers and council lifeguards will withdraw patrols where large numbers of people are present, to comply with the Federal Government’s ban on mass gatherings.
This is expected to immediately affect many beaches in metropolitan areas and particularly popular spots such as Bondi, Coogee, Maroubra, Sutherland Shire beaches, Byron Bay and Manly.
Additionally, surf patrol captains and club captains are being given discretion to withdraw patrols if volunteers are concerned about their own safety, irrespective of the numbers of people on the beach.
Patrols will maintain a surveillance role where possible, and Support Operations teams will remain on callout duty to respond to coastal incidents and emergencies.
Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales said this is yet another way in which they are reacting to a constantly changing public safety environment in regards to this pandemic.
“In the interests of public safety and the safety of our volunteers, we must heed the advice of the authorities and do what we can to put in place measures that might contain the spread of this virus,” Mr Shales said.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce said the organisation was in constant communication with the authorities and is keeping volunteers and surf life saving clubs updated.
BEACH SAFETY TIPS
- Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
- Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information
- Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
- In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police
- For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.
There are now 436 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales.
Bondi Beach has been closed as beachgoers ignore social distancing rules… could Byron be next? This is what it looks like on the sand right now. #coronavirusaustralia @nbnnews pic.twitter.com/5rF3FfejQd
— Lachlan Grant (@_LachlanGrant) March 21, 2020