A number of recent rescues of swimmers at Town Beach have fuelled calls for extended lifeguard hours or after-hours signage on Port Macquarie beaches.
The topic was brought into the spotlight after two swimmers were narrowly saved from a rip current at Town Beach on February 14.
Port Macquarie student Kael Harris, 14, rescued the two people with his board after patrols had officially finished for the day.
A man was also taken to hospital after being rescued by emergency services at Flynns Beach on the same day.
Port Macquarie lifeguard supervisor James Turnham said anyone entering the water at an unpatrolled beach, or at a beach out of patrolled hours is exposing themselves to many risks.
"Unfortunately lifeguards and lifesavers cannot patrol all hours of the day nor at all beaches along the coast," he said.
"We encourage people to go to our patrolled beaches during the normal patrolled hours.
"In Port Macquarie we have two seasonal (7 month) beaches that are patrolled from 9-5 at this time of the year.
"Before lifeguards leave the beach each day, they will generally do an announcement over the PA system to let beachgoers know that they are leaving, advise that swimming should cease and warn that any swimming after that time will involves risks.
"In exceptional circumstances where lifeguards have had a high number or preventative actions or rescues prior to the normal pack up time, we may decide to extend the patrol to ensure the safety of the community.
"If someone spots a person in difficulty, dial triple zero immediately so that emergency services including rescue assets can be tasked to assist."
Surf Life Saving Mid North Coast director of lifesaving, Paul Rayner said volunteers were already doing the best they could, and more hours could create further strain.
"I suppose we do the hours that we think are applicable, some of the clubs really struggle to do the current hours," he said.
"There's a lot of strain being put on lifesavers who are not paid... all the clubs are doing the best they can.
"To ask anymore would be putting a big strain on the resources we've got."
Mr Rayner said most volunteers were doing 9am to around 5pm shifts but the actual time of packing up was often the responsibility of the patrol captain.
Port Macquarie resident Kate Bennett said on social media, she strongly believed life guard hours should be extended to 7pm over summer, when the water was warmer and a trial held at Town Beach.
Denise Abraham, another social media user said she had been caught in two rips previously, and would like to see extended hours until 7pm because rescues seemed to be a daily occurrence.
Australian Lifeguard Service manager Brent Manieri said SLSNSW is happy to work with clubs and councils where there are special events and extended hours are considered on a case by case basis.
"The Port Macquarie Lifeguard Supervisor has the authority to extend paid lifeguard patrols when extenuating circumstances occur such as periods of hot weather and community events," he said.
"Patrols have been extended in the past few years to accommodate days of hot weather and also events such as FOTSUN at no further cost to council or the community."
"Lifesaving Service Agreements are negotiated between clubs/state and the local council to reflect attendance levels at beaches and other considerations.
"Patrol times are determined on this basis. Hours of patrol need to be considered when LSAs are negotiated (every 3 years) so clubs can ensure they have the capacity to meet those patrol commitments."
"Clubs may be able to call on extra patrol members to volunteer if there was a major incident, weather event or surf conditions that meant additional surveillance might be needed."
Mr Manieri said volunteers are not obliged to do extra patrols and it is the club's responsibility to manage fatigue and ensure volunteers are not performing excessive patrol hours.
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