Port Macquarie lifeguards have had a busy first week of school holidays

Busy week: Head lifeguard James Turnham keeps a close eye on Town Beach.
Busy week: Head lifeguard James Turnham keeps a close eye on Town Beach.

BROWN snakes, a broken wrist, plenty of sharks and a bushfire - all in a week’s work for our hard working lifeguards.

Since the school holidays began on October 1, Hastings beaches have been packed with people basking in the sun and cooling off in the ocean. But it has not been without incident.

A dozen confirmed shark sightings forced the closure of Town Beach and Lighthouse Beach a number of times.

A swimmer emerged with a broken wrist at Town Beach while brown snakes slithered from sand dunes.

A bushfire near Miners Beach kicked off the hectic week for Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) Supervisor James Turnham and his team.

The Port Macquarie lifeguards were issued a drone in September as part of the NSW Government's Shark Drone trials, to help increase safety, coverage and confidence on beaches this summer.

Turnham and his fellow lifeguards raced to the scene of the bushfire to offer their assistance to emergency services.

Within minutes they were airborne and flying over Sea Acres National Park with their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

“Drone technology is rapidly evolving and it’s encouraging to know that the equipment we fly has uses far beyond the beach,” Mr Turnham said.

“We have a good relationship with the other emergency services in the local region and we were delighted we were able to help out.”

He said the long weekend was mellow, however the first week of school holidays was very busy.

"We've been able to keep on top of it all and keep it under control (because) the busy week was always expected."

Mr Turnham said no major rescues have occurred with preventative action being the main focus of lifeguards.

"We are keeping the community safe in other ways. Our shark observation has increased at this time of the year, especially with all the whales around that seem to attract sharks," he said.

"There have been a few beach closures due to shark sightings, over a dozen confirmed since Monday by either the DPI helicopter of the lifeguard UAVs.

"In saying that it's great that we have this gear because we can confirm that the shark is gone and open up the beach as soon as we can."

He said snake sightings are encouraged to be reported, but with the reptiles minding their own business people should always keep an eye out.

"It's all about the team staying on our toes. We are trained to be ready whenever anything happens and so far they've all done a great job," he said.