Dee Why: A Coastal Black Spot on the Northern Beaches

Dee Why
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) has raised concerns about the Northern Beaches, especially Dee Why, as it highlights the suburb as a “coastal black spot” for the second consecutive year. 



With six out of 48 drowning deaths in NSW happening on the Northern Beaches in the past year, SLSNSW Sydney Northern Beaches CEO Tracey Hare-Boyd emphasised the importance of swimming between flags at patrolled beaches during patrol hours. 

“It is not a statistic that we are greatly proud of,” Ms Hare-Boyd stated, acknowledging various factors such as medical and mental health conditions contributing to these incidents.

Extended Patrol Hours and Dye Demonstrations

In response to the alarming statistics, Dee Why will extend patrol hours until 7:00 p.m. this summer, as many rescues occur after standard closing times. 

Additionally, Clinton Rose, Northern Beaches Council Beach Services Coordinator, used environmentally friendly dye to show the rapid movement of rips from the shore. This demonstration underlines the new advice for those caught in rips: conserve energy, go with the flow, and signal for help.

Awareness Campaign by Northern Beaches Council

Mayor Sue Heins of the Northern Beaches Council announced a new campaign to raise beach safety awareness. This initiative will include informative videos, signage at high-risk areas, and practical tips for beachgoers. 

“As we embrace the extreme weather, we are concerned our beaches will be extremely busy with locals and visitors seeking relief from the heat. More people on beaches could mean more rescues and drownings,” Ms Heins said.

“Last year, over 10.8 million people visited our beaches, with 1,427 rescues and 4,300 first aid cases requiring attention. Sadly, six people lost their lives in the Sydney Northern Beaches Surf Life Saving Branch area over the last year.

“We’re doing our bit to arm beachgoers with tips to stay safe this beach season with a new ‘Be Beach Safe’ campaign. Please do your bit by taking beach safety seriously and spreading the word with your visiting friends and relatives.”

Dee Why
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Lifeguard Efforts and Visitor Statistics

Northern Beaches Council professional lifeguards, alongside volunteers from 21 Surf Life Saving Clubs, work tirelessly to ensure beach safety. A significant number of preventative actions (425k) were also taken to guide swimmers and boardriders to safer areas. Notably, no deaths were reported on patrolled beaches within the flagged areas during patrol hours.



With a heatwave warning issued, a surge in beachgoers is expected. In anticipation, safety measures and vigilance are being heightened to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. The community is encouraged to stay informed and prepared, especially during these peak times.

Published 13-Dec-2023