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18 Jul

Newcastle and Hunter volunteer surf season begins with Bogey Hole rescue on new jet ski

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MAKING A SPLASH: Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes and beach inspector Paul Bernard on the new “guardian angel” jet ski. Picture: Peter Lorimer for City of Newcastle
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A NEW jet ski will bolster lifeguard efforts on Newcastle beaches as the season begins across the Hunter today.

The “guardian angel” craft will be based at Nobbys, which is patrolled all year, and will help extend lifeguards’ reach from Stockton Bight to Merewether beach.

It got an early call into action on Thursday, when Nobbys lifeguards Ian Gordon and Scott Hammerton helped save a man swept off rocks behind the Bogey Hole.

Police said the 28-year-old was taken to Newcastle beach, receiving treatment for a hand laceration before going to hospital for further assessment.

“This bloke was really lucky,” Mr Hammerton said. “Ian was in the water training, already in his wetsuit, and I took the jet ski out to him when the call came in.

“He hopped on and was over to the Bogey Hole about two or three minutes after the call came in from the Westpac rescue helicopter.”

“That’s just one example of how having the jet ski helps us be more flexible and responsive. We use it for shark sightings, mass rescues, in large surf when the rescue board is not adequate, when boats are in distress close to shore, to assist the Westpac when they need back-up, and on busy days just keeping it in the water to patrol the flagged area.”

The volunteer surf lifesaving season officially begins today. Port Stephens Council lifeguard supervisor Phil Rock said beachgoers should remain vigilant as the weather warmed up.

“Our safety message is simple — always swim at a patrolled location, always stay between the red and yellow flags, and never swim alone,” Mr Rock said.

Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes will hand over $60,000 to Hunter Surf Lifesaving at a ceremony at Nobbys to mark the raising of the flags.

Further inland at Beresfield, a giant inflatable will welcome the first swimmers at the suburb’s pool.

The 12-metre Mighty Medley inflatable arrives with new shading and seating, and extended hours announced last year.

“The new additions are designed to make the pool a better place for kids to play and for families to relax in summer,” lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

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