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With two people drowning on the NSW north coast inside a week, a local lifeguard says an expectation that everyone will swim between the flags all the time is unrealistic.
Greg Hackforth, a lifeguard with Coffs Harbour City Council, said although swimming between the flags was the most desirable outcome, the reality was quite different, particularly for swimmers in regional areas.
“If you look at Sydney’s coastline there’s a lot of patrolled beaches around the area, but on the north coast you’ve got long stretches of beach that are unpatrolled,” he said.
Mr Hackforth said surf patrols outside cities were generally limited to weekend windows or school holidays, and people were not always able to make it within those times.
“In Coffs Harbour our last patrol is 5 o’clock. During peak summer periods you’ve got two hours of daylight after that and it can still be 30 degrees plus.