Central Coast Beaches open – But no Life Guards

A lonely beach

Central Coast beaches remain open, but the familiar red and yellow flags will not go up for the rest of the season, in response to the evolving situation with coronavirus.

Surf Life Saving Central Coast said Central Coast Council lifeguards and Surf Life Saving volunteer patrols would stop setting the flags at the 15 patrolled beach locations in the region from March 25.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Gary Murphy, said the decision responded to Federal and State Government calls to do more to ensure compliance with the regulations around physical distancing and banning outdoor gatherings of 500 or more people.

“Unfortunately, the swim between the flags message is encouraging people to congregate in close proximity,” Murphy said.
“Our job right now is ensuring that we play our part in managing as best we can the spread of coronavirus and protecting the health and wellbeing of our staff and community.

“Lifeguards’ and volunteer lifesavers’ job is not crowd control and social group management.

“Their important roles of keeping children, families and all beachgoers safe at the patrolled beach areas is being compromised during these unprecedented times.”

Surf Life Saving Central Coast Chief Executive Officer, Jon Harkness, said: “We know that this decision may seem counter intuitive as we approach the Easter long weekend break and potentially longer school holiday period.
“But these are not ordinary times and they require us to take all the precautions we can to keep our staff and the general public safe.

“We are asking everyone to be sensible and follow the regulations about public gatherings and physical distancing.
“We will be back in late September to raise the red and yellow flags for a new beach patrol season.”

Media release, Mar 25
Central Coast Council