PORT Macquarie’s Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) Supervisor, James Turnham, has thanked locals and tourists for a mellow second week of school holidays on the Mid North Coast.
Following a dramatic first week on the sand, lifeguards did not have to make any major rescues as the message to swim between the flags was heard loud and clear by beach-goers.
"We had poor conditions at some of our beaches, but thankfully most people were doing the right thing and using patrolled beaches,” Mr Turnham said.
“Apart from the close call we had at Lake Cathie there weren’t many other incidents in the water, which is great.”
Lifeguards were kept busy with first aid, including a broken leg and a couple of surfers who suffered head wounds from their surfboards.
Snakes proved the show offs, venturing out to bask in the sun earlier in the week when the weather was warm.
“It's common to see snakes, as we did this week, close to the shrubs and the dunes,” Mr Turnham said.
“It's not often you see a snake cross the car park and go under a car like we did. Lifeguards never handle the snakes themselves.
“Apart from that, educating the public about snakes is all we can do. We remind them to keep an eye out on walking trails as well as near shrub and sand dunes.”
Lifeguards were on alert when severe weather warnings were in place this week. As Port Macquarie and surrounds were rocked with a thunderstorm on October 10, Mr Turnham said it brought with it some rough conditions.
“Swells around north facing beaches are the nicer ones at the moment, whereas Lake Cathie and Lighthouse have been closed late this week (due to weather),” he said.
“It's something we always monitor, with conditions deteriorating and stronger currents becoming problematic in storm season.
“It's been nice to get some rain and although tourists aren't stoked with the wet weather we certainly needed it.”
Then there are the sharks. Luckily, technology aids lifeguards in being alert and monitoring our beaches.
“We have the DPI helicopter around and the drones are used in the area so we can spot the sharks,” he said.
“When we do, and we have several times during the holidays, we close the beach, and when the shark moves on we can immediately re-open the beach. It's a great example of how handy technology has become.
“I'd say it has been a positive holiday period. We always expect incidents to go down, but most people did the right thing.”