NEW ERA: Ernie Williams has been named Fingal Surf Life Saving Club Captain as the club nears independence.
NEW ERA: Ernie Williams has been named Fingal Surf Life Saving Club Captain as the club nears independence. Scott Davis

'Stop selling Dreamtime'

FINGAL Rovers Surf Life Saving Club has worked with tourist operators to stop promoting the dangerous Dreamtime Beach as one of the best beaches in Australia.

The surf life saving club has been under administration for more than a year after ongoing division and infighting saw it placed in the hands of nine other surf clubs last March.

But Fingal SLSC administrator Mike Crawley says the club is now in the final stages of coming out of administration and expects it to be fully compliant with its own committee by the end of the month.

He said the club had addressed a number of issues including the marketing of Dreamtime Beach.

There have been four drownings at Dreamtime Beach since October 2015, while a fifth drowning occurred at nearby Duranbah Beach on Christmas Day.

"We've attacked the marketing of Dreamtime being the most beautiful beach in Australia," Mr Crawley said.

"It has been promoted as a special place, so people who are visiting the country and a lot of overseas tourists think it's all cool to go for a swim and then get caught in a rip and everything goes wrong very quickly," he said.

Mr Crawley said the Australian Water Safety Council had worked with certain tourist bodies to stop promoting the dangerous beach, which in February was named the third best Australian beach for 2018.

"Dreamtime is deadly, we have to say to people that it's a deadly beach, don't swim here," Mr Crawley said.

Mr Crawley said the state body for Surf Life Saving, including the chief executive, had patrolled the beach and "saw just how many people went there for a swim and how attractive it is".

"It gave him a good perspective," he said. But Mr Crawley said the beach will remain unpatrolled in the near future due to a lack of resources.

"We're not in a position to resource that fully, but there's all new technology coming with drones and support services, we've developed a working relationship with Queensland who are flying daily helicopters for us," he said.

The club has also installed defibrillators at the outside of the club for emergencies, while response time and capability have been improved. "By the end of May I expect the club will have its own committee and be independently operated with help from support services," Mr Crawley said.


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