SAFETY POWER: President of Surf Lifesaving Far North Coast Branch, Wilson Cregan (left), with Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, Ballina lifesavers and the branch's new Personal Water Craft.
SAFETY POWER: President of Surf Lifesaving Far North Coast Branch, Wilson Cregan (left), with Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, Ballina lifesavers and the branch's new Personal Water Craft. Graham Broadhead

North Coast lifesavers receive essential piece of equipment

REGIONAL lifesavers have been given a 110 horsepower boost in their efforts to keep beach-goers safe, with shark spotting currently high on the list of priorities.

The Surf Lifesaving Far North Coast Branch received an $8700 grant, which they added to by the same amount, to buy a Yamaha Personal Water Craft (PWC) - they are commonly called a Jet Ski but that is a brand name - with the latest hull design for surf rescues.

President of the branch, Wilson Cregan, said the new PWC would replace an outdated craft in the fleet of six, which are rotated around the 10 surf clubs in the branch area from Yamba to the Queensland border depending on need.

There is a PWC based at Ballina, and they have a service life of about three years, depending on the amount of use.

Mr Cregan said surf lifesavers in the branch had been "under a lot of pressure" because of the heightened shark activity in the past 12 months, with three attacks in Ballina alone.

He said the PWCs allowed the lifesavers to be very mobile considering the large area they cover.

He said the branch appreciated the grant.

Ballina's mayor, David Wright, said the lifesavers' PWCs combined with helicopters and the Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue to all work together in the effort to warn of beach-goers of sharks.

"It (the PWC) is an essential piece of equipment," he said.

The Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, said the PWC was "very important" for safety.

While the Federal electoral boundaries are set to change, Ballina remains in the seat of Page until the election when voters in the town will be in the poll for Richmond.



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