Beachgoers are being urged to take responsibility for their safety and swim between the flags, after NSW recorded an increase in the number of drownings this summer.
Since December 1, there have been 15 coastal deaths and drownings, including three rock fisherman, which is two more than the same time last year.
Premier Dominic Perrottet is reminding the public to swim between the flags, observe safety warnings and look after loved ones when close to the water.
“Australia Day is traditionally a high-risk holiday on our waterways. While our lifesavers and first responders are always vigilant, this is one of the days where more rescues and sadly drownings often occur,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Whether you’re at a beach, pool, river or lake, my message to swimmers is to know the risks, be aware of your surroundings and look out for each other.”
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said beachgoers can take simple precautions in and around the water to keep themselves safe.
“A tragedy can unfold in seconds on our beaches. Please supervise children, swim between the flags, wear a life jacket when required and always listen to the warnings from emergency services,” Ms Cooke said.
“I want to thank the 75,000 Surf Life Saving NSW volunteers and 129 surf clubs who have worked tirelessly this summer to keep locals and visitors safe on our beaches.”
Member for Pittwater and Surf Lifesaver Rob Stokes thanked the Warriewood surf club for their tireless efforts, after a difficult summer holidays.
“Tragedy has struck here at Warriewood with the death of a rock fisherman on New Year’s Day. We ask all beachgoers be vigilant and make sure their trip to the beach is one to remember for all the right reasons,” Mr Stokes said.
Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steve Pearce said despite the recent wet weather, Surf Life Saving NSW has had an extremely busy holiday period across the State.
“The NSW coastline boasts beautiful beaches and everyone can enjoy them safely by checking the conditions before swimming, wearing a life jacket when boating or rock fishing and remembering that alcohol and water activities don’t mix,” Mr Pearce said.
Over the Australia Day long weekend last year, surf lifesavers and lifeguards rescued 815 people, which accounted for 22 per cent of all rescues recorded in the entire year.
Since July 1, there have been more than 31 coastal drownings and deaths in NSW, including five rock fishermen.