Surf Life Saving NSW and the Sydney Sixers have teamed up to spread a message of surf and water safety, signalling the start of summer and, just as importantly, National Water Safety Day – where the focus is on raising awareness of safe practices around the water.
The first day of summer, 1 December, was declared National Water Safety Day in 2020 in a bid to encourage all Australians to make water safety a priority. Vigilance around the water takes on added significance this year following the tragedy of record drownings last year.
In NSW between July 2021 and June 2022, there were a total of 55 coastal drownings, up 10 on the previous year and up 12 on the 10-year average.
The highest number of drowning deaths occur during the months of summer with beachgoers making the most of the beautiful coastline.
Last summer (December – February) 25 people lost their lives due to drowning, with the summer accounting for 46% of all drowning deaths across 2021-22. In January alone, 10 people, or 18% of the year figure, drowned on the NSW coastline.
“On National Water Safety Day, we are getting behind our volunteer lifesavers and we’re really keen to be supporting everyone to keep safe on the beach,” Sydney Sixers’ Fan and Community Impact Specialist, Haley Fraser said.
“It’s one of the things you’re taught a lot when you’re growing up, is to swim between the red and yellow flags,” fast bowler, Stella Campbell added.
Fresh off the WBBL season where the team fell just short of the title in a hard-fought final against Adelaide, recovery time is short before the state season begins but that won’t stop the players from hitting the beach and celebrating summer in the best way possible.
“I love heading down to the beach for a swim, it’s great for recovery but it’s also just relaxing,” all-rounder, Maitlan Brown said.
“For me it’s about rest and relaxation at the beach,” Stella added.
“I’ll take a good book, slip slop slap, sit in the sun with my friends then jump in the water to cool off.”
Surf Life Saving NSW President, George Shales said that keeping safety in mind this summer was of the utmost importance.
“Spreading the message of surf safety with the Sydney Sixers just makes sense – two of the most iconic aspects of summer, the beach and cricket, coming together in the name of education and awareness,” he said.
“This is the first summer without restrictions in two years and we know beachgoers are busting to head to the coastline and make the most of the warm weather, but we really urge everyone to be cautious and not take unnecessary risks.
“Simple things like swimming at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags, observing the safety signs posted around the area, not swimming under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and wearing a life jacket while boating or rock fishing can be the difference in ensuring you go home to your family.
“We’re really excited for the summer. Our volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards and ready and we can’t wait to see everyone at the beach.”