New Data Prompts Lake Mac Lifeguards To Raise Summer Flags For Longer

        Senior Lifeguard Byron Howarth patrolling Redhead Beach during the extended hours

Lake Macquarie beaches will be patrolled for an extra two hours a day this summer as people flock to the coast outside the traditional times.

New data shows more of us are dashing to the sand and surf after work with 5pm-6pm the busiest on weekdays.

Usually the red and yellow flags are lowered at 5 o’clock, leaving late beach-goers at the mercy of the tides when conditions are at their most hazardous.

On weekends 9am-10am was the peak period.

The trends were monitored for two years under the Smart Beaches program which automatically counts visitor numbers without identifying specific people at all four patrolled beaches in Lake Macquarie.

Council’s Leisure Services Manager, Brad Sutton said the results confirm what lifeguards have been reporting.

“Smart Beaches monitoring has provided hard data to back up our lifeguards’ observations of visiting habits, creating an excellent case to keep our beaches open longer each day.”

In response, lifeguards will patrol Redhead, Blacksmiths, Caves and Catherine Hill Bay beaches from 8am-6pm until Sunday 29 January, extending beyond the traditional summer season hours of 9am-5pm to keep everyone safe.

Head Lifeguard Lucas Samways said it will be great for early risers and the after work crowd.

“Starting at 8am means people can get to the beach earlier and know patrols will be operating.”

Those looking to cool off with a dip after leaving the office will also have the same peace of mind.

More than one million people are expected to flock to Lake Macquarie’s beaches across the 2022-23 patrolled season, making them some of the busiest stretches of the NSW coast outside Sydney.

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