NSW Boaties, swimmers and surfers warned of dangerous surf
A DANGEROUS surf warning for the NSW coast has prompted a plea from lifesavers for swimmers, surfers and boat users to stay out of harm's way.
Surf Life Saving NSW manager Andy Kent said strong winds and powerful surf conditions were expected for the whole of the state's coast on Friday, with a north-travelling swell peaking at nearly 4m.
He said the swell was expected to gradually subside throughout Saturday.
"Although the larger swells are expected, offshore conditions could potentially be challenging on some beaches," Mr Kent said.
"Rock fishing, boating and surfing are all great activities to do during the colder months, but we urge everyone to employ the same safety tips that they do during summer.
"Things like fishing with a partner, wearing a lifejacket, letting people know your plans, taking the time to assess conditions and being aware of your environment are all tips that everyone should make part of their routine when heading out to enjoy our wonderful and diverse coastline."
Volunteer patrols finished in April but lifeguards are still on standby to respond to coastal emergencies.
Lifesavers kept watch on 83 beaches, two resorts and a lake in NSW over the season, carrying out 825 rescues - down from 892 the previous year.
The most rescues occurred in the Pittwater local government area, with Bega and Tweed Shires also recording high numbers.
Preventative actions such as identifying hazards and directing swimmers back between the flags increased, with about 274,000 performed - up 23% on 2013/14.
It was also the first full season lifeguards had patrolled Byron Bay's Main Beach year-round.
Australian Lifeguard Service NSW co-ordinator Brent Manieri said it was a successful season.
"Lifeguards patrol a huge area of coastline with each beach throwing up its own set of unique challenges but the professionalism that our staff continue to exhibit and the enthusiasm they show for the job means the public were vigilantly watched and provided with the highest possible service at all times this season," he said.
SAVING LIVES 2014/15
Rescues - 825
First aid - 5607
Preventative actions - 274,658
Beach attendance - 4.1 million