Last week Macksville Adventist School students started their annual surfing for sport at Scott's Head with the Trent Munro Surf Academy.
School principal Kerry Howard said the students were taught beach safety, swam across a small rip and jumped on the boards to ride the waves.
"Seeing the students get out in the water, some for the first time, was a real highlight. We can't wait until sports day next week," Mrs Howard said.
Drowning on the rise
With nine people drowning over the Christmas-New Year weekend from December 24, 2018 to January 2, 2019, it's as important as ever to learn how to be safe in the water, especially at the beach.
In the month leading up to and including January 1, 48 drownings were reported across Australia - up from 31 drownings in the same period last year, according to Royal Life Saving Australia.
The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2018 revealed that a total of 249 people lost their life to drowning in Australian waterways between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 and an estimated further 551 hospitalisations resulting from non-fatal drowning incidents.
Safety tip: How to spot a rip current?
According to Surf Life Saving NSW, rips are the number one hazard on Australian beaches.
The best way to avoid a rip is to swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags.
Rips are complex, can quickly change shape and location, and at times, are difficult to see. The things to look for are:
- Deeper, dark-coloured water.
- Fewer breaking waves.
- A rippled surface surrounded by smooth waters.
- Anything floating out to sea or foamy, discoloured, sandy, water flowing out beyond the waves.
- Rips don’t always show all of these signs at once.