Mid North Coast lifeguards ready for everything

Busy week: Head lifeguard James Turnham keeps a close eye on Town Beach
Busy week: Head lifeguard James Turnham keeps a close eye on Town Beach

BROWN snakes, a broken wrist, plenty of sharks and a bushfire - all in a week’s work for our hard working lifeguards on the Mid North Coast.

Since the school holidays began on Monday, beaches have been packed with people basking in the sun and cooling off in the ocean. But it has not been without incident.

A dozen confirmed shark sightings forced the closure of Port Macquarie’s Town Beach and Lighthouse Beach a number of times.

A swimmer emerged with a broken wrist at Town Beach while brown snakes slithered from sand dunes.

A bushfire near Miners Beach kicked off the hectic week for Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) supervisor James Turnham and his team.

A young boy broke his wrist at Town Beach. Photo: Port Macquarie Lifeguards

A young boy broke his wrist at Town Beach. Photo: Port Macquarie Lifeguards

The Port Macquarie lifeguards were issued a drone in September as part of the NSW Government's Shark Drone trials, to help increase safety, coverage and confidence on beaches this summer.

Mr Turnham and his fellow lifeguards raced to the scene of the bushfire to offer their assistance to emergency services.

Within minutes they were airborne and flying over Sea Acres National Park with their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

“Drone technology is rapidly evolving and it’s encouraging to know that the equipment we fly has uses far beyond the beach,” Mr Turnham said.

“We have a good relationship with the other emergency services in the local region and we were delighted we were able to help out.”

He said the long weekend was mellow, however the first week of school holidays was busy.

"We've been able to keep on top of it all and keep it under control (because) the busy week was always expected," he said.

Mr Turnham said no major rescues have occurred with preventative action being the main focus of lifeguards.

"We are keeping the community safe in other ways. Our shark observation has increased at this time of the year, especially with all the whales around that seem to attract sharks," he said.

"There have been a few beach closures due to shark sightings, over a dozen confirmed since Monday by either the DPI helicopter of the lifeguard UAVs.

"In saying that it's great that we have this gear because we can confirm that the shark is gone and open up the beach as soon as we can."

This brown snake was sunbaking at Town Beach. Photo: Port Macquarie Lifeguards

This brown snake was sunbaking at Town Beach. Photo: Port Macquarie Lifeguards

He said snake sightings are encouraged to be reported, but with the reptiles minding their own business people should always keep an eye out.

"It's all about the team staying on our toes. We are trained to be ready whenever anything happens and so far they've all done a great job," he said.

"I praise the bulk of visitors for doing the right thing, but we need to remind a few people not to swim at non-patrolled sections of the beach."

Also making the news: