JETTING IN: New patrol site this summer for local lifeguards
JETTY Beach will have a trial patrol service by the council's lifeguards this summer as part of a series of innovations related to a new strategy to guide the lifeguard service into the future.
New accessible equipment and facilities for people with disabilities will also be available including two more Hippocampe-type beach wheelchairs and a 50-metre Mobi-Mat which can be laid over the sand from the Jetty Foreshore's ramp to allow people with mobility issues direct access to the water.
"Patrolling Jetty Beach will mean that we can respond extremely quickly to any potential incidents at North Wall," council team leader of lifeguard services Greg Hackfath said.
"This is an incident hot-spot that tends to attract visitors who don't know the area and are unaware of the dangers of rips.
"It would also mean that the lifeguards on duty will be able to look after the new accessibility equipment as part of an Inclusive Beach Access service."
The new beach patrol trial will start on December 27 and run through the peak summer period until January 26, 2020.
A new Lifeguard Service Strategic Plan has also been adopted which maps out the future direction of the council's lifeguard services to meet the challenges of changes in population, technology and beach lifestyle.
"The key issues we face are population growth, increased beach visitation by locals and visitors, the popularity of the upgraded foreshore areas, the growing number of people living or working here who come from overseas, an ageing population and an increasing number of retirees," Mr Hackfath said.
"In the past, most people used to go to surf beaches on weekends, but this is changing to more weekday visits, including non-surf beach locations. There are also emerging industry trends around technology - such as the use of drones and localised WiFi messaging.
"These were key considerations that we had to address for the lifeguard service now and in the future."
A report will be provided to councillors following the completion of the Jetty Beach patrol trial and inclusive beach access service.