Stay inside the flags, stay hydrated

Last season 28 drownings occurred on the beaches of NSW, with all occurring outside patrol hours, outside the flagged area or on unpatrolled beaches.

The tragedies have highlighted the importance of swimming at patrolled beaches where lifesavers are more likely to spot swimmers in trouble.

If swimmers do happen to get into trouble their chances of being rescued are significantly higher if they are inside the flags, said Craig Roberts from Surf Life Saving NSW. People who get into trouble outside of the flagged areas are far less likely to be spotted by lifesavers, while those who are at unpatrolled beaches are placing themselves in significant danger.

Furthermore, Mr Roberts was also concerned that surf lifesavers were being distracted from surf duties by having to regularly treat extreme sunburn and heat stroke.

While the best place to spend a hot summers day is at the beach, people have to be sun smart, said Mr Roberts. Each summer surf lifesavers attend to hundreds of people affected by heat exhaustion, which in many instances is avoidable. In hot weather conditions the public should always keep their fluid levels up, wear a hat when out of the water and not spend too long in direct sunlight, particularly between 10am and 2pm.

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