Near drownings prompt locals to say education is key when heading to the beach

SAFETY FIRST: Jay Corr  the unofficial mayor of Shelly Beach says people need to make sure they know how to read the beach before entering. Photo: Laura Telford.
SAFETY FIRST: Jay Corr the unofficial mayor of Shelly Beach says people need to make sure they know how to read the beach before entering. Photo: Laura Telford.

With the holiday period well under way, local beach goers are reminding people to swim to the conditions after two separate incidents over Christmas.

Jay Corr, dubbed the unofficial mayor of Shelly Beach, said that he has noticed more and more people getting into trouble in the water.

“I come down to Shelly Beach at least once every day, and have been doing so for years, and I certainly have seen my fair share of people get into trouble in the water.

“Shelly Beach is not patrolled by lifeguards or lifesavers but it probably should be with how many people get into trouble just through not having local knowledge of the beach,” Mr Corr said.

Just this year, Mr Corr says he has helped more than 25 people who have found themselves into trouble.

“Even just this week, we had to call Triple 000 after someone got into trouble.

“If people swim in the lagoon at Shelly Beach they should be fine, but people need to know that the beach can be dangerous, and how to get out of a rip,” he said.

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This comes after a father son duo, Paul and Harry Grant had to help two women who were caught in the surf at Oxley Beach.

Paul Grant said after growing up in Port Macquarie and always bringing the family back for the holidays, he took the family to the beach Christmas Eve when the incident happened.

“My son and I know the beaches in Port Macquarie fairly well, and we had just gone down for a swim when we noticed two women in dire need of help.

“As soon as it was obvious that no-one else was going to help, Harry, a rugby player, jumped into the water and swam out to help.

“Thankfully it was all over within a matter of minutes but it could have had some really bad consequences if no-one had stepped in to help,” Mr Grant said.

These incidents come as lifeguards praise the general public for swimming between the flags, and at patrolled beaches during the festive season.

“People need to remember to swim at patrolled beaches, between the flags and to the conditions,” head lifeguard James Turnham said.

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