Clubs gear up for a busy holiday season

Zoe KeenanGeraldton Guardian

As everyone heads to the beach to stay cool during the festive season, local surf lifesaving clubs are in the midst of the busiest time of the year.

Geraldton Surf Lifesaving Club president George Giudice said it was always a busy time over the summer holidays, with beachgoers and people holidaying from out of town.

“The beach becomes really popular because we’ve got the waves in the morning and the wind in the afternoon, so not only is it popular for swimmers but surfers and kite surfers as well,” he said.

“We will be extra busy from now on up until Easter, so we’ll have our volunteers keeping up with patrols.”

Giudice said it was important for beachgoers to know the dangers of the beach, especially those travelling from inland.

“We have to be really careful about visitors because our beach has a lot of waves and they don’t know how dangerous it can be, especially the minute you get a change of wind,” he said.

“The best thing to do is ask the people on patrol before you go into the water and always swim between the flags.”

Giudice warned swimmers to keep an eye on the flags while in the water to avoid drifting outside them.

Heading closer to town, Champion Bay Surf Lifesaving Club president Peter Nelson said they were expecting the beach to get busy with its proximity to the foreshore and town.

He said Champion Bay had a few dangers tourists should be aware of.

“We have some concerns about the beach in front of the yacht club because it’s frequently used by jetskis and yachts,” he said.

“We don’t encourage people to swim in that area; they’re safer going to the swimming beach.”

Nelson said tourists should abide by the barriers set out where boats drive through and not to swim under the influence of alcohol.

“We’ll have as many volun-teers on as we can, including our normal rostered patrols and extra people who have more free time over the holidays,” he said.

“The main issue we’ve experienced recently is dogs on the beach.

“They’re not allowed on the beach but can remain on a leash on the grassed area, so people need to respect that.”

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