Port Macquarie is a fantastic place to live, especially in Summer – we have some of the best beaches that the NSW coastline has to offer. But there is a serious side to living by the beach. It gets hot in Port Macquarie during Summer, and the best thing to do on those days is head straight to the beach. It’s important if you’re thinking of getting in the water, to know a thing or two about surf safety – for the sake of your own safety, and of those around you.
Some of the hazards you might encounter while having fun at the beach include:
- Rips – strong offshore current caused by the tide pulling water away from the shore. They can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.
- Sandbars – a ridge of sand that is built by waves and can mean the water is shallower than expected when diving in.
- Marine Stingers – marine stingers are poisonous and potentially deadly sea creatures such as jellyfish and octopuses.
- Submerged objects – submerged objects such as trees, branches, rocks and more can pose a threat as they may not be seen from the surface.
- Shallow waters – diving head first into shallow waters can result in a concussion, long-term spinal damage or even death.
- The Sun – Sun exposure without the right protection can cause dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke, heat exhaustion and more.
- Other people.
As you can see there are lots of potential dangers at your local beach, but we want it to be fun. So we thought we’d call in the experts to get the low-down on being safe at the beach. We asked our friends at Tacking Point Surf Life Saving Club to help us out with some surf safety tips.
Tips for beach safety
Thanks to our friends at Tacking Point Surf Life Saving Club for providing these helpful tips on Surf Safety:
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags. For your nearest patrolled beach, check the BeachSafe app or website.
- Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a Lifesaver or Lifeguard for safety information.
- Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water.
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Be aware of what is happening around you so that you can see if a surf craft is headed in your direction.
- If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising your arm. It is important not to panic.
- For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or download the app.
- With a hot summer predicted remember to cover up, seek shade and always wear sunscreen when at the beach.
How to avoid getting caught in a rip
Rips or riptides are the number one hazard on Australian beaches. The best way to avoid a rip is to swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags.
How to survive a rip current
- Stay calm and consider your options.
- Raise an arm to seek help. Try to keep your arm straight, don’t wave it about.
- Try floating with the current, it may bring you back to shore.
- Swim parallel to the shore or towards breaking waves and use them to help you in.
- Reassess your situation. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try one of the other options until you’re rescued or return to shore.
Watch this video from Surf Life Saving Australia about Rip Currents
That concludes our list of beach safety tips
Thank you to the experts at Tacking Point Surf Life Saving club for helping us out with these fantastic beach safety tips.
Tacking Point Surf Life Saving Club
Located at Lighthouse Beach in Port Macquarie, Tacking Point Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) provides lifesaving services, nipper activities, education and social functions for members, visitors and the wider community.
Tacking Point Surf LifeSaving Club (SLSC) was founded in 1974, largely due to the increasing popularity of Lighthouse Beach for swimming and other ocean activities. The late Alderman Norm Matesich played a pivotal role in establishing the club, with his family still actively involved to this day. When the club first opened, there were 30 members. Today, there are 467 members, with numbers continuing to grow year on year.
Tacking Point SLSC’s core purpose is to ensure public safety at Lighthouse Beach. This includes conducting regular patrols between September and April each year, providing rescue and emergency care services, and educating beachgoers about ocean conditions.
The club also plays an important role in the community in terms of health, fitness and social engagement. From the youngest nippers at just five years of age to their senior members who have devoted so much time to the club, they’re a place where people can go and volunteer, learn new skills, improve their fitness, develop camaraderie and connect with like-minded people.
Not just about saving lives
As well as providing essential lifesaving services for the community, Tacking Point SLSC also operates a recently renovated licensed bar on Fridays 4-8pm and Sundays 3-8pm, with the venue available to hire for functions and parties throughout the year.
Supporting our local surf clubs
Over the Summer holidays, you might have met some of The Westport Club team down at Port Central. During the busy season, our team were at the shopping centre chatting to locals and tourists, and we were also selling kites. All proceeds from the selling of the kites will be donated to Tacking Point and Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Clubs. The money raised will help the clubs to purchase much-needed new equipment to help them to continue to save lives in the water. In total, The Westport Club raised $2,400, which resulted in each Surf Club being donated $1,200. The donations will help the Clubs to purchase a surf ski and a rescue board.