Central Coast News
Flags-Up for Central Coast Beaches but Safety First
This year Council is getting in early to help prepare beachgoers for the season ahead with new measures and message related to COVID-safe behaviour and requirements for visitors and locals who engage in rock fishing.
Acting Council Director Connected Communities, Phil Cantillon said it is vital that community members and tourists follow simple safety steps whilst enjoying quality time on the region's spectacular beaches.
"Our lifesavers and lifeguards do an incredible job keeping us safe across beach season but we also need to do our bit," Mr Cantillon said.
"Heading to the beach means relaxing, recharging, keeping fit and active, and it also means switching on a beach safety mind-set.
"Beach safety practices we always need to follow stand true - like only swimming at patrolled beaches and always swimming between the flags - but this season COVID-safe behaviour at the beach is also incredibly important.
"Please maintain 1.5 metre social distance from people who are not from your household and keep group gatherings to a maximum of 20 people, as mandated by NSW Health.
"Many of our beaches are extremely popular and crowd management measures may be in place to keep our community and visitors safe.
"We'll be making regular COVID-safe reminder announcements over the loud speakers at our patrolled sites and NSW Police will also be regularly monitoring beaches.
"Should it be necessary to close any Central Coast beaches this season, clear signage will be displayed.
"Council has also introduced a requirement that anyone engaging in rock fishing must wear a life jacket - this requirement extends to anyone who accompanies someone who is rock fishing.
"We are installing signs at various locations that clearly outline what is required for anyone engaging in rock fishing on the Coast."
Mayor Lisa Matthews said enjoying the beach season and the importance of safety always need to go hand-in-hand.
"With the weather warming up and increased visitors to the Coast, it's important we all follow basic steps to keep ourselves and others safe when enjoying the beach," Mayor Matthews said.
"Measures in place to keep us COVID-safe extend to the beach and everyone must vigilantly follow these requirements whilst soaking up the sun and surf at one of the many stunning beaches along our coastline."
Key beach safety messages
- Always swim or surf at patrolled beaches.
- No flags means no swimming.
- Swim between the red and yellow flags.
- If we can't see you, we can't save you.
- If you get into difficulty, raise your arm, stay calm, and yell for assistance.
- If you are unsure of conditions, ask the lifeguard or lifesaver in attendance.
- Read and obey the signs and directions from the lifeguard or lifesaver.
- Never run and dive into water, as the depth can change regularly.
- Children should be supervised by an adult at all times.
- Always 'Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide'.
- Board riders are asked to keep outside the black and white flags on each side of the red and yellow flags, as these indicate the surf craft exclusion zone.
Key COVID-safe messages for the beach
- Maintain a 1.5 metre social distance from anyone who does not live in your household.
- Keep groups to fewer than 20 people.
Key rock fishing messages
- Anyone rock fishing in a declared location must wear an appropriate life jacket, this includes people helping you to rock fish and children.
- If you're going rock fishing, plan ahead - let others know where you are going and carry a phone.
Council's Lifeguards patrol our shorelines from Monday to Friday, and Surf Life Saving volunteers keep everyone safe on weekends and public holidays.
Non-peak holiday times:
26 September 2020 - 18 December 2020 and 30 January 2021 - 25 April 2021,
9am to 5pm patrols across all 15 beach locations and The Grant McBride Baths.
Peak holiday period:
19 December 2020 - 29 January 2021
at all locations (including Budgewoi) will operate from 9am to 6pm. Terrigal, Avoca and Umina beaches operate an hour earlier - from 8am until 6pm.
Find more information, including which beaches are patrolled, open/closed status and dog friendly beaches search 'beaches' on Council's website
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