Help at hand when things turn south at lonely beach

Published on 10 April 2024


Installation of remote rescue tubes across the greater Coffs Harbour Area is continuing at pace. 

City of Coffs Harbour is in the final year of a three-year rollout of the remote rescue tube program. 

Eight new rescue tubes have been installed – four of these donated by Greenhouse Tavern through raffles undertaken by the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour, while the others were sponsored by the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club as part of a $15,000 donation by the Pink Silks Perpetual Trust.    

The purpose-designed flotation devices are popping up at key access points to beaches, to help in rescue situations where a lifeguard may not be available. 

Managed by City of Coffs Harbour’s Lifeguard Service, the project has been community-funded and inspired by the efforts of the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour and Pink Silks Perpetual Trust. 

The project aims to reduce drowning incidents, particularly ‘bystander drownings’. Unfortunately, many drownings involve good Samaritans who get into trouble when attempting a rescue. Having a purpose designed flotation device is considered a critical success factor for bystander rescuers in these situations. 

In the 33 months since the project started rolling out, there have been 13 known successful rescues involving the devices. 

“These devices are very effective,” City of Coffs Harbour’s Lifeguard Services Team Leader Greg Hackfath said. 

“In situations where people might be swimming on unpatrolled beaches or outside patrolled hours, remote units can be lifesaving.” 

Fifteen more remote rescue tubes are on the way, 11 of these funded by the Pink Silks Trust and the Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club. The other four have been sponsored by the Greenhouse Tavern. 

The City of Coffs Harbour’s remote rescue tube program includes an online link for people to complete after they’ve used a device (as this allows data to be recorded), while any damage to a unit can also be reported. 

“Community support and awareness are vital for the success of the program,” Mr Hackfath said. 



City of Coffs Harbour Lifeguard Services Senior Lifeguard Hugo Craigan with a remote rescue tube at Park Beach.