Beach season to remember wraps up in Lake Mac

Published on 22 April 2022

Lucas Samways at Redhead Beach.jpg

Crowd numbers across Lake Macquarie beaches dipped almost 40 per cent during the 2021-2022 patrolled season as wild weather triggered conditions not seen along the city’s coast for decades.

Attendance across the city’s four patrolled beaches was an estimated 767,000 from September to 19 April, down from 1.22 million the previous year.

However, Lake Macquarie City Council lifeguards remained busy throughout the season, performing 160 rescues and providing first aid to almost 900 people.

Senior Beach Lifeguard Lucas Samways said the number of rescues we completed was very similar to last season, despite the lower attendances.

“It points to the fact that conditions have been quite hazardous, and people have been keen to get out there and swim on the few sunny days we’ve had,” he said.

The patrolled beach season at Redhead, Blacksmiths, Caves Beach and Catherine Hill Bay comes to an end on Tuesday.

Mr Samways said the frequently treacherous surf conditions, last month’s destructive east coast low and subsequent erosion along the coast had all contributed to lower visitor numbers.

“We haven’t seen the frequency or intensity of some of these weather events for many years, and that has certainly had an impact on the number of people coming to the beach,” he said.

“We’ve also had some unusual conditions, including the sea foam that enveloped our beaches beyond the normal high-water mark, and the east coast low swell that made it all the way up to the Redhead surf club building.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser congratulated the city’s lifeguards on their work over the patrolled season.

“It has been a very challenging few months for our lifeguards due to the prolonged dangerous conditions, but we are fortunate to have some of the best in the business here in Lake Mac,” she said.

“They have worked tirelessly and vigilantly to ensure visitors to our patrolled beaches remain safe.”

Hazardous surf prompted a total 100 beach closures this season, rips forced 18 closures, storms and lightning accounted for 15 and poor water quality for four.

Shark sightings causing beach closures fell from 16 last season to just six this season.

While the patrolled beach season comes to an end this weekend, Council lifeguards will remain busy throughout the cooler months.

Lifeguards are scheduled to visit dozens of schools across Lake Mac between now and September when beach patrols resume, teaching children the basics of surf safety and first aid.

Visitor numbers 2021-2022 patrolled beach season

Redhead Beach


Blacksmiths Beach


Caves/Hams Beach


Catherine Hill Bay