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New Data Prompts Lake Mac Lifeguards to Raise Summer Flags for Longer

Senior Lifeguard Byron Howarth Patrolling Redhead Beach During the Extended Hours.

Lake Mac beaches will be patrolled for an extra two hours a day until the end of January following the release of new data confirming when people are most likely to visit for a dip.


Lifeguards will patrol Redhead, Blacksmiths, Caves and Catherine Hill Bay beaches from 8am-6pm until Sunday 29 January, extending beyond the traditional summer season hours of 9am-5pm.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Leisure Services Brad Sutton said monitoring of beach visitation over the past two years as part of the Smart Beaches program showed an influx of people heading to the coast before and after work.

“On warm evenings particularly, we’re seeing a large number of people heading to the coast to enjoy our beaches,” he said.

“A lot of these visitors, including families with young children, are turning up just as we’re taking the flags down for the day. And this is often when conditions are at their most hazardous.”

“Smart Beaches monitoring has provided hard data to back up our lifeguards’ observations of visiting habits, creating an excellent case to keep our beaches open longer each day.”

Under the Smart Beaches program, software automatically counts visitor numbers without identifying specific people at all four patrolled Lake Mac beaches.

Head Lifeguard Lucas Samways said figures collected so far this season showed that from Monday to Friday, 5pm-6pm was the busiest hour for beach visits.

On weekends, 9am-10am was the busiest period, suggesting many families waited until the beach was patrolled before heading onto the sand.

“Starting at 8am means families can get to the beach earlier and know patrols will be operating,” Mr Samways said.

“That will be great news for families whose kids are early risers, or who want to get out and about before the day really heats up.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said the altered schedule showed how technology could provide real-world benefits.

“It’s fantastic how the data we’ve collected can contribute to decisions to improve the services we deliver to the community,” she said.

“I’d encourage everyone to make the most of these extended hours and enjoy our beautiful coast during patrolled periods.”

More than one million people are expected to flock to Lake Mac’s beaches across the 2022-23 patrolled season, making them some of the busiest stretches of the NSW coast outside Sydney.

Go to for more information.

Peak periods Monday-Friday

1. 5-6pm

2. 4-5pm

3. 11am-noon

4. Noon-1pm

5. 1-2pm

Peak weekend periods

1. 9-10am

2. 10-11am

3. 11am-noon

4. Noon-1pm

5. 1-2pm


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