A group of teenage body boarders received a timely reminder about the dangers of swimming at an unpatrolled beach on Thursday after having to be rescued by lifeguards and an off-duty lifesaver when they got into difficulty in a rip at Denhams Beach.
According to Surf Lifesaving NSW, the teens, aged between 13 and 15, had been body boarding at the northern end of the unpatrolled beach when a rip developed at about 2pm.
After struggling to swim against the rip for about 25 minutes a member of the public noticed that they the group were in difficulty and called police who informed the State Operations Centre located in Sydney.
A Surf Life Saving on-call team and a Far South Coast Duty Officer were sent and contracted lifeguards from Eurobodalla Shire Council who were patrolling the nearby Surf Beach responded.
An off-duty lifesaver and lifeguard guided the group out of the rip and paramedics assessed them. Apart from suffering exhaustion, none of the teenagers needed treatment.
Beaches across the Far South Coast had been closed at the time due to the conditions. The mass rescue was one of a number of incidents recorded across New South Wales on Thursday which highlighted the importance of a coordinated response from emergency services.
“This rescue highlights the importance of having a central communications hub,” NSW Lifesaving Manager Andy Kent said.
“Within minutes of being informed of the situation we were able to direct our on-call team and assets to the location. We were also able to talk directly to other agencies including the police, paramedics and ambulance service to ensure that the right resources were tasked to respond.”
Mr Kent said this rescue highlights why safety messages are broadcast to the public “This is why we strongly urge everyone to swim at a patrolled location because if you do get into difficulty help is always close at hand. These teenagers were very lucky.”
General Safety Tips
Always swim between the red and yellow patrol 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
If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police
Don’t forget to be sun safe by remembering to: Slip on some protective clothing, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Slide on a pair of sunglasses, Seek some shade and Sip on lots of water to stay hydrated.
For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.