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SLSQ issues warning for festival-goers

Lifeguards are urging Queenslanders heading south to Byron Bay for the annual Splendour in the Grass festival to take care in and around the water this weekend.

Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service NSW will be on duty each day at Byron Bay’s Main Beach, which is currently the only patrolled beach on the NSW Far North Coast, the ideal location for those looking to cool off after a day at the upcoming Splendour in the Grass festival.

Main Beach will be patrolled from 9am – 5pm each day with lifeguards an excellent source of local knowledge.

Conditions over the three-day festival are expected to be warm with temperatures forecast for the mid-20s. As a result, lifeguards are planning for one of their busiest weekends since summer’s end.

SLSQ chief lifeguard Greg Cahill is urging Queenslanders travelling to the festival to not take any unnecessary risks, and to swim at a patrolled location between the red and yellow flags.

“Splendour in the Grass is a great event that brings in huge crowds, including those who might not necessarily be familiar with the unique local conditions.

“We strongly encourage all visitors to go to Main Beach at Byron Bay and swim at a patrolled location. Lifeguards are there to help and will be looking out for the welfare of all beach users,” Mr Cahill said.

With most beach tragedies occurring at unpatrolled locations, the push to get people to reduce risk-taking behaviour this weekend is the focus.

“It’s really a simple message that we want to get across to everyone. Water, drugs and alcohol simply don’t mix,” Mr Cahill said in a pointed warning to the expected influx of visitors.

“Dangerous situations both in the water and on the beach can escalate quickly, which puts lifeguards and volunteer rescue and call-out teams at risk as well.

“We want everyone to enjoy the festival and get home safely so the best advice we can give is look after your mates and think twice before taking any risks.”

Police and emergency services will be out in force throughout the weekend, with Surf Life Saving volunteers and rescue assets on-call to respond to any coastal emergencies if required.

Police and emergency services will be out in force throughout the weekend, with Surf Life Saving volunteers and rescue assets on-call to respond to any coastal emergencies if required.

General safety tips:

  • Always swim at patrolled beaches
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safer area for swimming
  • Never swim, surf or fish alone
  • Read and obey the signs
  • Be aware of rip currents (know how to spot one and how to escape from one)
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Never run or dive in the water, even if you have checked before as water conditions can change
  • If in doubt stay out
  • Seek advice from lifeguards

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