Volunteer surf life savers will conduct additional patrols at some of Port Stephen’s most popular beaches.
Emergency services met yesterday to discuss extending patrols after yet another drowning at Birubi Beach over the weekend.
As a result, Surf Life Saving (SLS) will now run dusk patrols between 4-7pm, with one operating out of Fingal Beach SLSC and covering the northern end of Port Stephens. A second will run out of Birubi SLSC and cover the southern end.
It comes after coastal drownings at Birubi Beach, Boat Harbour, and Stockton in each of the last three months. In all, Port Stephens has seen three coastal drownings in nine weeks. All drownings have come outside of patrol hours or outside the red and yellow flags.
Hunter SLS Duty Officer Glen Dunkley said there has also been a spike in beach visitation which is likely to increase again over the holidays.
“One of the primary roles of this initiative is education – we want to promote safety messaging to as many people as possible,
“Our Branch Support Operations teams will be proactively engaging with beach and rock platform users during this time and, naturally, will respond to any incidents that might occur.
“The patrols will generally include a Duty Officer, a jets operator, a volunteer lifesaver and a UAV pilot if available. They will travel in a rescue vehicle with a jet ski in tow.”