Lifesavers are pleading with beachgoers to stay vigilant after three people were swept away by a rip at a popular beach in New South Wales.
Surf life savers performed a mass rescue at Bulli Beach, north of Wollongong, on Thursday morning.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steve Pearce told Radio 2GB that it came as data shows swimmers are four times more likely to drown on Australia Day than any other day.
Surf Life Savers have rescued three people at Bulli Beach, north of Wollongong, after they were swept away by a rip
More than a million people are expected to flock to the state’s beaches today – with SLS figures showing drowning deaths almost double on public holidays and long weekends.
Mr Pearce said Australia Day is traditionally one of the deadliest on the water in the calendar year.
‘Research and statistics show us that more than if you go for a swim on Australia day you are four times more likely to drown than on any other day,’ Mr Pearce said.
‘We are throwing so many resources and so many warnings for today.’
Australia Day swimmers are four times more likely to drown than on any other day
Surf Life Saving Australia launched a safety campaign for beachgoers on Wednesday urging swimmers to look for rips before entering the water.
‘One in three people rarely or never look for rip currents before swimming,’ Surf Life Saving Australia wrote.
‘This summer it is vital to take a second and STOP, LOOK and PLAN before entering the water.
‘Stop and check for rips, look for other dangers and plan how to stay safe.’
Dark patches of water, fewer breaking waves, a rippled surface and anything – like sand – floating beyond the waves are all indicators that a rip might be close by.
The campaign urges swimmers to look for the red and yellow flags and swim between them at all times.
As of January 25, 2023, there have been 51 drowning deaths reported nationwide this summer, according to the Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll.
Surf Life Saving Australia confirmed the three people rescued at Bulli Beach were all returned to shore safely.
WAYS TO ESCAPE A RIP
- Stay calm and float to conserve your energy.
- Raise your arm and attract attention from lifeguards or lifesavers.
- Swim parallel to the beach, towards the breaking waves.
- Let the rip take you out to a sandbar or break, where you can swim back in.