With summer fast approaching and what is anticipated to be one of the busiest patrol seasons on record, Surf Life Saving NSW has distributed personal protective equipment(PPE) to surf clubs and branches to ensure volunteer surf lifesavers are protected while on duty.
With hotter than average temperatures forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology leading into summer, and with more Australians holidaying locally rather than overseas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, beachgoers are expected to flock to Australian beaches in greater numbers than ever this patrol season. Steve Pearce, CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, said that in planning for a busy season ahead in the COVID-19 environment, the number-one priority was ensuring the safety of volunteers on patrol at the beach and on the water this summer. “We’re anticipating a very busy summer ahead and we’ve been working hard to prepare our clubs for operations to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our clubs already have COVID-19 Safety Plans in place and we have revised our beach management guidelines. We are now distributing a large amount of PPE to all our clubs - including disposable gloves, masks and hand sanitiser - to keep our members safe while on patrol,” said Steve Pearce. “We’ve distributed COVID-19 PPE safety packs to all our 129 surf clubs and 11 branches across NSW. When our volunteer members turn up for patrol this summer, PPE will be provided to keep them safe if they are concerned about the risk of infection. We’re encouraging surf lifesavers to use things like masks and gloves if they are in close contact with the public or providing first aid,” said Steve Pearce. “Personal protective equipment valued at $30,000 is being given to clubs to kickstart the season, in addition to the record $1.2 million in funding already provided by Surf Life Saving NSW to encourage new and returning members to sign-up for the summer patrol season ahead. Many clubs are using the funding to waive or heavily subsidise membership fees, which is great,” said Steve Pearce. Surf Life Saving NSW President, George Shales OAM said that with the official Surf Life Saving season due to begin on Saturday 26 September and large crowds forecast on the beaches, significant planning had been done to ensure patrols can go ahead in the safest way possible. “With more people expected to head to the coast this summer, we want to send a strong message to all our 75,000 volunteer members that Surf Life Saving NSW is working hard to keep them safe on the beach and on the water - while they’re on patrol and responding to emergency incidents. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of our members,” George Shales said. “Our PPE patrol packs, our record $1.2m funding package to incentivise new and returning members, plus the work we’ve done in supporting all our 129 surf clubs prepare for a busy summer in the COVID-19 environment, will ensure that we’re prepared, as always, to respond to any coastal emergency while ensuring that our members and the public are kept safe,” said George Shales.