Safety will be stepped up at Sydney’s south-eastern beaches, with Randwick Council expanding its Lifeguard services to Malabar and Little Bay Beaches for the first time this summer.

Randwick Mayor Philipa Veitch announced today, Friday 1 December 2023, that Malabar Beach will have a flagged area and two Lifeguards for the summer.

Little Bay Beach will also have its own Lifeguard with backup from jet ski water patrols from Malabar. The water patrols will also include the popular beaches around La Perouse – Yarra Bay Beach and Frenchmans Bay Beach.

Patrols have not been conducted at Malabar since 2004 and Little Bay Beach has never been patrolled.

“This summer is forecast to be hot and dry and we’re expecting over five million visits to our beaches. Last summer there were 281 drowning deaths nationally including 27% at beaches.

“We want to do everything we can to reduce the risk that a day at the beach turns to tragedy. Expanding our Lifeguard services means we’ll have more staff able to respond more quickly,” Mayor Veitch said.

The decision to introduce Lifeguards follows five water related fatalities at Little Bay since January 2022 and a major incident at Malabar Beach. In FY22/23, Randwick Council Lifeguards responded to over 128 major incidents alone.

Randwick Council has significantly increased water safety measures in recent years, including additional signage, public access rescue equipment, CCTV and emergency response beacons.

Lifeguards are trained in lifesaving and first aid techniques, providing immediate CPR when necessary. Their swift response during medical emergencies or accidents can save lives and improve the chance of recovery.

Randwick Council veteran Lifeguard Peter Halcro said the number of visitors to the beaches has increased significantly, particularly in the Malabar and Little Bay area, since COVID.

“There weren’t nearly as many people at the beaches in the past as there are now. My career spans over 40, so I’ve encountered many more serious incidents. Having Lifeguards there is a good thing for residents and visitors.”

The new summer patrols at Malabar and Little Bay add to existing year-round Council Lifeguard patrols at Coogee and Maroubra and seasonal patrols at Clovelly Beach.

Randwick Lifeguard beach safety tips:

  • If you cannot swim, please be very careful at the beach.
  • Always supervise children.
  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags; never swim outside them
  • Do not swim directly after a meal or if under the influence of alcohol
  • Do not panic if caught in a current/rip. Raise one arm into the air to signal for Lifeguard assistance. Float until help arrives.
  • Do not swim if unsure of surf conditions. Always seek the advice of a Lifeguard or lifesaver.
  • If you choose to attempt a water rescue, make sure you take a flotation device with you – a boogie board, ball, esky lid or anything that floats.
  • For any water-related emergency, ring 000 and ask for police.