Surf lifesavers are preparing for a busy weekend on the South Coast this Saturday and Sunday, November 28-29, as thousands of people head to the beach to cool off.
"NSW and the ACT will experience very hot temperatures and elevated fire danger in the coming days as daytime temperatures are forecast to reach the high-30s and mid-40s for many locations," the Bureau of Meteorology said on Friday, November 27.
Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Lifesaving, Joel Wiseman, said the weekend would be one of the busiest, and warned beachgoers to swim between the flags.
"Our strong message to beachgoers as we head into the weekend is to plan ahead and pick a beach that is patrolled by volunteer surf lifesavers or lifeguards and to always swim between the red and yellow flags," Mr Wiseman said.
"After relatively cool spring weather, this weekend is set to be the busiest we've had on our beaches for some time as we head into summer and temperatures soar.
"With temperatures forecast to push into the 40s across the weekend, people are already making plans to head to the beach to avoid higher inland temperatures.
"Last week's drowning tragedy at Woonona Beach near Wollongong is a sad reminder to everyone of the importance of swimming at patrolled beaches, during patrol hours.
"The easiest way to check which beaches are patrolled, and the hours surf lifesavers and lifeguards are patrolling, is to use the Beachsafe website or app.
"At the end of a great day on the beach, we want everyone to go home to their families. Swimming between the flags is the simplest step you can take to ensuring that happens."
Rock fishers and boaters are also reminded to wear lifejackets when fishing from sea-exposed rock platforms and while out on the water this weekend.
"Tragically, last year we saw a record number of boating-related coastal drowning deaths. For the first time ever, boating-related fatalities overtook swimming as the activity associated with the most coastal drownings," Mr Wiseman said.
"The statistics show that when it comes to coastal incidents, life jackets save lives. So, if you're planning to go rock fishing or boating, plan to drop into your local outdoor adventure store and pick up a correctly fitting lifejacket on the way. You never know, it might just save your life."
The Beachsafe app can be downloaded via the Beachsafe website at beachsafe.org.au.
There have been 15 coastal and ocean drowning deaths since 1 July 2020. During the 2019/20 season there were a total of 49 coastal and ocean drowning deaths on the NSW coastline. This is higher than the 16-year average of 42.