Let’s go back to the beaches

SCHOOL’S out today, daylight is overtaking darkness and the surf’s up.

That means we are well and truly into spring and it’s time for lifesavers to patrol the Macleay coast’s main beaches.

Surf life saving clubs have been recruiting new members, many of whom have successfully completed their bronze medallion training.

And the lifeguards employed by Kempsey Shire Council are ready to resume their roles.

The surf clubs at Hat Head, South West Rocks and Crescent Head begin their patrols from tomorrow, as do the council’s lifeguards.

There will be no raising of the flags ceremony at South West Rocks tomorrrow, but a patrol skippered by Leon Robinson will kick off the 2012-13 season at Main Beach.

Kempsey Crescent Head Surf Life Saving Club will be on duty from 10am tomorrow, with Scott Edwards in charge of the first patrol crew.

The Hat Head Surf Life Saving Club roster operates from 10am on Sunday. Ken Parish captains the patrol on duty.

Council lifeguards will be on duty from 10am to 2pm, as of tomorrow.

They will patrol the beaches at Grassy Head and Horseshoe Bay seven days a week.

Two council lifeguards will be on patrol from Monday to Friday (except public holidays) at South West Rocks’ Main Beach and Crescent Head throughout the season, and from Monday to Saturday (again, except on public holidays) at Hat Head.

Council-contracted lifeguard Richard Clarke reiterated the importance for the public to swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.

And he warned beach-goers not to take conditions too lightly over the coming school holiday period.

“Usually, these holidays aren’t too bad,” he said. “There shouldn’t be a bad swell, but that doesn’t mean you can be complacent.”

There have been two drownings on our shores earlier this year and these have prompted surf club officials to echo Mr Clarke’s call.

Bruce Caldwell, registrar at the South West Rocks club and for the Mid North Coast district, said the club had enrolled upwards of 170 members for the forthcoming season.

"Surf life saving clubs play a big role in safeguarding the public, he said. “There was one drowing at South West Rocks and unfortunately that was out of a patrolled area.”

Hat Head club captain Andrew Kirby said the books were still open there for new members and encouraged locals to join.

“It’s a great location for such a worthwhile pursuit and we’ve got a low shark count and ample parking,” he said.

The club will stage a Nippers proficiency swim, for children aged eight years and above, at Kempsey pool from 10am on Sunday, October 7.

Kempsey Crescent Head Surf Life Saving Club’s secretary Maurie Fuller said the club had enrolled good numbers for the nippers and he encouraged parents to be involved in the club and try out for their life saving bronze medallions.

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