Hunter Surf Clubs raise flags as weekend patrols begin
The Tea Gardens Surf Lifesaving Clubs in Catherine Hill Bay will commemorate a long-standing tradition this weekend to keep people safe at the beach this summer.
The iconic red and yellow flags will be flown at local beaches to signal the start of patrols from Saturday 24 September.
Hunter Surf Life Saving president Henry Scruton said the 13-club branch lifeguards were “ready to go”.
“Thanks to Newcastle Permanent, we have the equipment and our employees are trained to keep people safe in and out of the water,” he explained.
“Newcastle Permanent also supports the recruitment, training and retention of junior surf lifeguards, to ensure we have a pipeline of volunteers to come.”
One of those volunteers is Brendan Ryman.
The 54-year-old Stockton resident has been a member of the Stockton Surf Life Saving Club for over a decade.
Mr. Ryman is currently the Hunter Branch Lifeguard of the Year, a duty officer and a rescue watercraft operator with the branch’s Support Operations team.
He is also a trainer and evaluator for future lifeguards and inflatable rescue boat crews and operators.
Mr Scruton and Mr Ryman will join Newcastle Permanent Chief Financial Officer Mark Colless at a special ‘flag-raising’ ceremony at Merewether Beach to mark the start of the season.
Mr Colless said Newcastle Permanent was customer owned, it sought to support the communities where its members lived, worked and played.
“Spending time at the beach is part of summer for so many people in our area, which is why we’ve supported Hunter Surf Clubs for over 40 years,” he said.
“Our volunteer lifeguards save countless lives every year – they deserve our thanks and our support.
“Last year, the 1,738 patrollers at the Hunter branch performed almost 60,000 hours on patrol.
“They rescued 123 people, provided 521 first aid and undertook more than 25,000 other preventive actions.
“In 105 years of our patrols, no one has ever died swimming between flags on Hunter Beaches.”
Mr. Scruton shared these tips for staying safe at the beach this summer:
- Always read and obey safety signs and rescue instructions
- Swim between the red and yellow flags
- Never enter the water if you have been drinking alcohol or are under the influence of drugs
- Wear sunscreen, seek shade, and stay hydrated
- Boat skippers and rockfishers – always check the local forecast, seek advice from NSW Maritime and wear a life jacket.
Those interested in joining the surf lifesaving movement can find their local club at www.hsls.org.au