Lifeguards on full alert

STEPHANIE VANICEKBusselton Dunsborough Times

With the Australia Day long weekend approaching, lifeguards are appealing to Capes region beachgoers to swim in demarcated bathing areas and to be aware of conditions while in the water.

Surf Life Saving WA figures reveal a total of 41 rescues recorded since the start of patrols at Meelup Beach and Bunker Bay on November 26 and Yallingup and Smiths beaches on December 27.

Yallingup remains the most dangerous spot for swimmers with 28 rescues, followed by Smiths with seven, Meelup with six and none at Bunker Bay.

A total of 90 rescues were recorded in 2011-12, with Yallingup again leading the tally with 65 rescues.

Lifeguards at Meelup were kept busy with 96 first aid treatments, compared to 41 at Bunker Bay, 20 at Yallingup and 12 at Smiths.

And Bunker Bay led the way with the most beach closures over the period with eight, while there were seven at Meelup, two at Smiths and one at Yallingup.

SLSWA lifesaving operations supervisor Craig Bowley said most of the rescues had taken place as a result of swimmers getting into strife in big surf or rips.

Mr Bowley appealed to swimmers to be cautious, swim between the flags and pay close attention to conditions as the summer season continued.

“Where possible swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags,” he said.

“Never swim alone, ask a lifeguard for advice and listen to what they say.

“Don’t enter the water if you are unsure about the conditions or your own abilities, read signage at beaches (and) learn about rip currents ... and how to escape from one.”

Lifeguard services will continue until February 3.

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