Patrols by volunteer surf lifesavers end early in response to coronavirus

Volunteer surf lifesavers from Bate Bay clubs. Picture: John Veage
Volunteer surf lifesavers from Bate Bay clubs. Picture: John Veage

Surf Life Saving NSW has announced, effective immediately, all patrols by volunteer surf lifesavers on NSW Beaches will be cancelled for the remainder of the season.

This association said the decision was made to protect the safety and welfare of volunteer surf lifesavers from potential infection by the COVID-19 virus and to discourage large gatherings of people on NSW beaches.

In place of beach patrols by surf lifesavers, enhanced Support Operations including jetskis and rescue boats will provide a roving presence, emergency callout teams will be on standby to respond, complemented by surveillance patrols using drones.

"We have a duty as lifesavers to protect the lives of the public on our beaches and along the coastline and we have a proud tradition of doing just tha, president george Shales said.

"However, Surf Life Saving NSW also has a duty of care to its volunteers to protect and keep them safe. It's with our members welfare in mind that the decision was made to cancel the remaining patrols this season - after careful consideration and consultation with key stakeholders."

SLSNSW is reminding members of the public to remain vigilant and to call Triple Zero if you see someone in distress in the water.