Warn­ing as life­guards go back on duty

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

IT may feel like sum­mer, but Surf Life­sav­ing WA gen­eral man­ager Chris Peck says beaches can be at their most dan­ger­ous at this time of year.

“It’s sim­ply be­cause you have the tail end of the win­ter swell which causes the waves to come over the shore breaks’ sand banks,” Mr Peck said, as full-time life­guards started last week.

Af­ter two life­guard tow­ers were re­in­stalled at Cottes­loe Beach last Thurs­day, he and Premier Colin Bar­nett said swim­mers should not over­es­ti­mate their skills and abil­ity to sur­vive when in dif­fi­culty, and to swim in pa­trolled ar­eas be­tween beach flags.

“Swells and rips are still the great­est threat to you,” Mr Peck said.

The State Gov­ern­ment will pro­vide $2.6 mil­lion for pa­trols, in­clud­ing daily res­cue he­li­copter sur­veil­lance from Yanchep to Man­durah, and daily dur­ing Christ­mas hol­i­days in the South-West.

The flights con­trib­uted to 346 sharks be­ing spot­ted in both ar­eas last year, af­ter public con­cern peaked fol­low­ing seven fa­tal at­tacks in three years un­til 2011.

Mr Bar­nett said it was now ap­pro­pri­ate to have aerial and beach pa­trols, net en­clo­sures at some beaches and a pol­icy to de­stroy large sharks lurk­ing at pop­u­lar beaches.

How­ever, his Gov­ern­ment would not re­view its rejection of other non-lethal shark pro­tec­tion mea­sures, in­clud­ing plas­tic float­ing bar­ri­ers, elec­tronic smart buoys and elec­tronic shark shields for beaches.

Premier Colin Bar­nett with Cottes­loe SLSC mem­bers at the launch of the new pa­trol sea­son.

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