THE familiar sight of red and yellow caps returned to beaches across the North Coast region this weekend as surf life savers went back on patrol in preparation of a busy season in upcoming months.
With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a hot summer ahead, most of us will seek refuge from the scorching heat by heading beachside for a cool, relaxing dip.
But despite the presence of regular patrols at some of our favourite beaches, Joe Dougherty from Yamba Surf Club is urging people to take precautions when heading seaside this summer.
"Lifeguards are there to look after swimmers," he said.
"But to ensure your safety, it's important that all beachgoers stay within their depth when swimming; listen to any instructions given by life savers on duty and swim between the flags because that is the safest place to swim.
"We (life savers) are expecting a busy season this year.
"A lot of people go to the beach when the weather is hot and it is our duty to ensure everyone remains safe."
Joe described the first two days of seasonal beach patrol in the local region as "uneventful," listing unfavourable wet weather and flat sea conditions as the reasons for low beach attendance records.
"I advise anyone who is planning to go to the beach to only swim in waters patrolled by life savers," Joe said.
"It greatly reduces the chances of an accident occurring."
Main Beach in Yamba will be patrolled every day for the duration of the school holidays.
Patrols will continue across North Coast beaches until Anzac Day, 2012.