Hannah Smith, who normally volunteers at Yamba SLSC, was asked to help out at Minnie Water this week to help build patrol numbers.
Hannah Smith, who normally volunteers at Yamba SLSC, was asked to help out at Minnie Water this week to help build patrol numbers.

Safe summer on Clarence beaches

AFTER finishing up patrols on January 26, Scott McCartney, of the Australian Lifeguard Service, was happy with the 2009/10 Clarence beach season.

“We only had two major incidents and both ended positively, so we were pretty happy,” Scott said.

“A man in his 70s suffered a heart attack on the water’s edge at Pippi Beach in Yamba and another man fell off his jet ski and got swept out to sea,” he said commenting on the major incidents.

“We conducted an extensive search from the water and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was required,” he said.

“The man was eventually found between one and two kilometres out to sea and all ended well.”

Lifeguards also had an ongoing battle with bluebottles over the summer period, with countless stings occurring and many beachgoers needing oxygen.

“I’m not really sure if it was just the potency of the sting, or the lack of knowledge about bluebottles, but some people were affected pretty badly and needed oxygen as well as treatment for the stings,” Scott said.

Small surf was also experienced across the majority of Clarence Valley beaches, which contributed to the successful season.

The paid lifeguards will return over the Easter period.

Beach-goers are reminded, however, that volunteer surf life saving clubs will continue to patrol main beaches in the Clarence Valley on weekends and public holidays up until April 26.

Tony Benfield, of the Minnie Water-Wooli Surf Life Saving Club, said that the season had been successful for clubbies as well.

“At Minnie Water, we have performed about 15 rescues so far this season,” Tony said. “We hope that people continue to follow directions and swim between the flags.”



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