The community of Tathra has once again come together to raise $15,000 to keep its beach safe this month.
Rob White from the Tathra Chamber told East Coast Radio 13 businesses and organisations and two individuals donated around $1000 each to ensure the town will have lifeguards patrolling Tathra Beach seven days a week throughout February.
“It’s an amazing effort that Tathra organisations have come together to raise these funds, there’s probably no other situations in the country where businesses are paying for a public lifeguard on the beach like we do here,” Mr White said.
Mid-week patrols ceased on Bega Valley and Eurobodalla beaches from February 1, but Tathra beach goers can rest assured, Monday to Friday patrols will continue until March 1.
Mr White said the lifeguard initiative started around nine years ago after a number of tragic events on Tathra Beach.
“Unfortunately we had a few beach tragedies and we just thought it was necessary to keep our beach safe during February,” Mr White said.
“Historically we have the best beach conditions during February and it’s a time of year when a lot of young families and older retirees come to our town for a beach holiday and now many school groups come to Tathra during that time as well,” he said.
Mr White said it shouldn’t be left to local businesses and individuals to chip in to pay for lifeguards.
“We’re coming up on 10 years of businesses paying for this service, and I think it’s time that council re-examine the situation,”
“Not only Tathra should be patrolled in February but other beaches across the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla should be patrolled, we’re inviting visitors to have their summer beach holidays in our region and promoting that and so should be providing a safe beach environment.”
Bega Valley Shire Council has been contacted for comment.
While all other mid-week patrols on South Coast beaches (excluding Tathra) wrapped up at the end of January, Surf Life Club weekend patrols along the coast will continue running until Easter.
Meantime the first delivery of replacement Surf Life Saving jet skis has been deployed on the South Coast this week.
Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland said 67 replacement jet skis are being deployed across the East Coast over the next four years.
“The Bega Electorate is fortunate to be in the first trench of jet skis to be deployed and that will be with a new jet ski at Tuross Beach and also at Tathra,” Dr Holland said.
“It’s part of a $23 million government investment to keep our beaches safe.
“It will make such a big difference considering there’s already been more than 900 rescues carried out across the state.”
Images: ALS, James Fennessy – East Coast Radio