BEACH goers are being urged to take extra care when in, on or around the water this weekend with hot weather predicted across NSW.
Large crowds are expected to descend on northern Illawarra beaches this weekend, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s along much of the coast.
Detective Acting Superintendent Darren Schott, Acting Marine Area Commander, said anyone heading in or onto the water needs to exercise commonsense.
“Whether you’re going to the beach, a river, lake or swimming pool, you need to assess the environment and take simple precautions to prevent tragedy,” Detective Acting Superintendent Schott said.
“We have had a number of drownings and near-drownings recently, and unfortunately, many could have been prevented by heeding safety messages of police, lifesavers and maritime authorities.
“This weekend we are expecting large crowds at beaches and local swimming areas, as well as extra boats and pleasure craft on the harbour and other waterways, so it is important for everyone to pay extra attention to their own health and safety on the water,” Det A/Supt Schott said.
NSW Lifesaving Manager, Dean Storey, has praised the efforts of lifesavers and lifeguards so far this summer and has appealed to the public to spread the water safety message.
“We have the best lifesaving services in the world, help us keep you safe by swimming at a patrolled location – if we can’t see you we can’t save you,” Dean Storey said.
Surf Life Saving’s website www.beachsafe.org.au and a free smart-phone app ‘beachsafe’ are available to help plan a day at the beach.
“Beachsafe makes choosing a patrolled beach easy, whether you’re planning days in advance or you’re already on your way to the coast,” Mr Storey said.
Police are also reminding people to look after their health in extreme heat and follow advice from NSW Health to drink plenty of water, keep cool, take care of others and have a plan or point of contact.
For more details on how to care for yourself and others during hot weather go to www.health.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/beat the heat
Detective Acting Superintendent Schott also advised rock fishermen and anglers to exercise extreme caution as ocean conditions may increase risk of injury, particularly along exposed areas of coastline.
“Rock fishing can be a high-risk activity in calm conditions, and in dangerous surf conditions, it has the potential for disastrous outcomes.
“Before you head out, check the tides, swell and weather forecasts for the time you intend to be out. If you decide it is safe to head out, have a careful look at conditions before venturing onto a rock platform.
“Most importantly, always wear a life jacket and proper shoes. Even the most experienced rock fishermen can be swept into the water and a life jacket can be the difference between a frightening experience and disaster.”
For further information about water safety visit www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au