Record number of beach rescues
LIFEGUARDS are hoping to get through the last weeks of summer without incident after a hectic holiday period for beach rescues on the Mid North Coast.
Surf Life Saving NSW says it has rescued a record number of people from the water this summer in NSW.
On the stretch of coastline between Coffs Harbour and the Tweed 10 people have been pulled from the surf in the past 10 days after getting into trouble.
The biggest frustration for lifeguards and lifesavers is swimmers not exercising commonsense.
Performing his fair share of rescues, Coffs Harbour City Council lifeguard co-ordinator Greg Hackfath has pleaded with holidaymakers and locals alike to exercise caution before hitting the water.
"We urge people to stay out of outgoing creek tides and to know their own ability, and make sure there are at least surfboard riders around," Mr Hackfath said.
Moonee Beach has been a particular area of concern this summer.
The most recent major rescue happened after a man entered the surf and got into difficulty.
To make matters worse, he was in respiratory arrest but thankfully was rescued.
On Boxing Day, five people had to be hauled to safety after they encountered trouble in Moonee Creek on the outgoing king tide.
"Already, surfboard riders have proven their value in rescues up and down the coast. They truly are unsung heroes," Mr Hackfath said.
He said he could not stress enough the importance of swimming at patrolled beaches wherever possible.
Mr Hackfath would also like to hear from the brave woman who dragged an unconscious German backpacker from the water at Diggers Beach on December 23.
The 75-year-old had a heart attack when he entered the surf and went straight to the bottom.