LOCAL residents and tourism operators are being encouraged to urge visitors to take a dip in the ocean during winter months at Park Beach.
Following the move by Coffs Harbour City Council last month to make year-round Lifeguard patrols at Park Beach a permanent feature, that stretch of beach is now considered the safest place for beach-goers during the cooler time of the year.
Council's Director of Land Use Health and Development Chris Chapman said that aside from the obvious safety factor, having permanent lifeguards at Park Beach is a big asset for the region.
"Having a permanent lifeguard presence on Park Beach is a great selling point for visitors and will, hopefully, help attract even more people to stay in Coffs Harbour for a holiday or a break," Mr Chapman said.
"But the main aim of the extended service at our most popular beach destination is to help save lives and prevent accidents in the surf.
"To help us towards reaching that goal, we'd ask the community and local tourism operators - particularly those that provide accommodation - to encourage their visitors to swim at Park Beach at those times of year when no other beach is patrolled."
Council's lifeguard service provides the most progressive and comprehensive beach patrol program between Newcastle and the Gold Coast including one of the most successful beach safety education schemes in Australia.
The service successfully trialled 12-month patrols at Park Beach in 2010 and 2011.
Figures for Park Beach during the the 2011 winter season reveal that the cooler temperatures were no deterrent to visitors with 55,548 people using the beach between the end of April to the end of September.