Lifeguards Scott Hammerton, Gary Richards and Seraina Danuser talk with Mayor Nautali Nelmes at Merewether Beach.
Saturday 26th September was the start of the summer beach season and beachgoers must adapt to changed conditions due to COVID-19.
Lifeguards patrol year-round at Nobbys, Bar and Merewether beaches and at Newcastle Ocean Baths, while 30-week seasonal patrols keep watch at Dixon Park, Newcastle and Stockton beaches, and at Merewether Ocean Baths.
With more than 1.2 million people visiting local beaches last year, City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she was confident locals would continue to adhere to physical distancing measures when enjoying Newcastle’s iconic beaches and baths.
Newcastle council has partnered with the Hunter Surf Life Saving Branch and the Clubs to manage both on-beach emergencies and challenges associated with COVID-19.
Our Surf Life Saving Clubs do a phenomenal job at protecting our community at the beach and we look forward to welcoming people back as the weather warms up,” Rhonda Scruton CEO Hunter Branch Surf Life Saving said.
This season presents additional challenges, but through good preparation and adherence to our COVID Safe Plans, we look forward to protecting the community and ensuing people continue to enjoy themselves when at the beach.”
Newcastle council maintains contact with Lake Macquarie City Council to ensure there is a consistent approach to COVID and beach safety across the two coastal Local Government Areas.
“Both City of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie LGAs are fortunate to be home to amazing beaches and pools and we want people to continue to enjoy a day at the beach,” said Lake Macquarie Council Mayor Kay Fraser.
We have worked collaboratively in preparation for this summer to ensure we have a consistent approach to beach safety locally.”
City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that people’s beach experiences may look different this season. The usual beach rules apply including swimming between the flags and obeying the instructions of lifeguards which will include avoiding over-crowded areas.
As a response to the pandemic, additional lifeguards will be provided as COVID Safe Marshals to patrol local beaches and baths on weekends and during school holidays to educate the community about requirements under the Public Health Order, monitor crowd sizes and promote water safety.
Prominent signage will remind people about the need to maintain physical distance by keeping a towel length between them and other beachgoers, avoid large gatherings and to stay home if they are unwell.”