It's that time of the year again.
The red and yellow flags are close to featuring on our beaches once again as the weather warms up.
The start of the 2021/22 surf lifesaving patrolling season is set to start this Saturday September 18, albeit in line with current COVID-19 restrictions.
The eight surf lifesaving clubs on the Mid North Coast; Macksville-Scotts Head, South West Rocks, Hat Head, Kempsey-Crescent Head, Port Macquarie, Tacking Point, Wauchope-Bonny Hills and Camden Haven, have all been working hard in the offseason and are ready to provide their volunteer services to our beachgoers, both the local community and visitors to the area.
As COVID-19 continues to affect our travel, the way we now holiday looks extremely different.
With overseas travel currently non-existent and interstate travel considerably less, many of us are heeding the advice to visit the country's regional destinations and holiday closer to home - creating an increase in both local and regional coastal visitation.
With the release of the Surf Life Saving Australia's annual National Coastal Safety Report, this national rise in beach visitation has in turn shown an increase in rescues and coastal drownings across Australia.
Surf Life Saving Mid North Coast president, Rod McDonagh, acknowledges the impact that COVID-19 has had on our local clubs and their members.
"For the past three seasons, we have been saying that the next season will be back to normal. With fires, floods and now COVID-19 this has yet to be the case," he said.
"Our members continue to show their commitment to keeping our beaches safe as well as assisting in other emergency responses throughout the community."
All clubs along the Mid North Coast are currently recruiting new members to come and join this iconic movement.
"Being a surf lifesaver is not just about being a strong swimmer or board paddler to do a rescue," Mr McDonagh added.
"We need members on the beach that have strong skills in a range of areas - emergency management, communications, first aid, community education and drone operation just to name a few.
"We are an inclusive organisation and if you have been thinking of joining a surf club for the first time or you are a past member looking to get back involved, now is the time.
"With the ongoing support of Newcastle Permanent Building Society, we are able to provide our members with resources and various opportunities within the surf life-saving movement."
As well as the start of the new season there has also been recognition of members who have shown their dedication of many seasons with the announcement of three new life members of Surf Life Saving Mid North Coast - Gary Hawkins, Kim Rayner and Paul Rayner.
The three life members, who continue to serve on the executive committee, were very honoured to receive this recognition.
"I love the fact that I can provide a service to the community and work with other volunteers who have common goals," Mrs Rayner said.
"I am grateful to be in an organisation that has so many like-minded people who are willing to avail themselves for the betterment of surf lifesaving and providing a community service at the same time."
Gary Hawkins: "I am inspired by those who proudly wear the red and yellow and I thank my fellow members and family for their support over many years."
For more information on how to join one of the Mid North Coast Clubs visit www.slsmnc.com.au.
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