Mayor Cr Jan Barham officially launched the lifeguard season on Monday, helping to raise the red and yellow flags at Main Beach.
Cr Barham said the council recognised that Byron Bay’s beaches were popular holiday destinations and made sure visitors remained safe during Schoolies and the summer holidays.
“The Byron Shire Council and the Australian Lifeguard Service are committed to ensuring young people coming to Byron for the Schoolies festivities enjoy themselves safely and the council has committed additional funds to ensure a daily lifeguard service during this period,” she said.
“We are the only council in Australia that provides a lifeguard service overnight on New Year’s Eve.”
The lifeguard patrols, provided by the council and the Australian Lifeguard Service, will be protecting the beach each weekday from 9am to 6pm. These patrols will continue until the end of April 2010, with lifeguards starting at The Wreck, The Pass, Wategos, Tallow (Cosy Corner), Suffolk Park and Broken Head beaches from Saturday, December 19.
A new all-terrain vehicle that has been funded by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing through its blackspot funding program will provide better protection for local swimmers.
The vehicle, along with the Byron Shire lifeguard jet ski, will allow lifeguards to respond quickly to any incident on Byron Bay beaches.
NSW Chief Lifeguard Stephen Leahy said Main Beach was one of Australia’s great beaches and was very popular with locals and tourists alike.
Mr Leahy said the provision of lifeguards and the weekend volunteer patrols from the surf lifesavers at the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club would ensure there was a safety and rescue service every day at Main Beach until after the autumn school holidays next year.
Last season lifeguards at Byron’s Main Beach rescued 22 swimmers.
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