Report reveals a significant drop in our numbers
FOUR of the seven beaches patrolled by the Australian Lifeguard Service were incident free this season as COVID restrictions kept people away.
Statistics compiled by the Australian Lifeguard service show a significant drop in attendance at all Clarence beaches this year on their watch, with Turners Beach and Pippi Beach attracting the most people.
Recorded attendance by the lifeguards shows the attendance at Turners Beach dropped from 37,090 for the 2018/19 season to 29,819 last year, while Pippi Beach's attendance fell almost half from 52,030 to 29,096.
There were a total of 119,304 who visited the beaches while patrolled by the lifeguard service this season, a drop of 60,838 from the same period last year.
The lifeguard service said in its report to Clarence Valley Council that these numbers were consistent across beaches across the east coast of New South Wales as a result of climatic conditions.
"Severe bushfires affected the spring and summer months both in tourist and local attendance then coronavirus (COVID-19) affected the autumn attendance with travel restrictions and limitations on public gatherings," the report read.
Turners Beach also attracted the most number of rescues by the lifeguard service, with 10 over the season, while Pippi Beach recorded three and Yamba's main beach one.
The announcement in the figures coincided with a council tender for the provision of lifeguard services in the area.
Clarence Valley Council as the Crown Land Manager has previously engaged the Australian Lifeguard Service to manage the services for seven beaches in the local government area
"Providing Lifeguard services is an important Council service. There is a significant safety risk to the community if a service is not provided, particularly during the peak season," general manager Ashley Lindsay said.
Mr Lindsay said that apart from the 14 rescues there were also 8758 preventive actions which showed the importance of the service.
Patrolled beaches include Bluff Beach (Iluka), Turners Beach, Main Beach and Pippi Beach in Yamba, as well as beaches in Brooms Head, Minnie Water and Wooli. In addition a drone service has continued at Yamba providing critical data for the Department of Primary Industries regarding marine activity and surf conditions.
Lifeguard services on weekends and public holidays are provided by volunteers and data from that period was not included in these figures.