NUMEROUS sponsorship deals would be needed to reinstate paid lifeguards outside the current season, Newcastle councillors heard at a meeting last week.
Newcastle council cut its patrol services earlier this year to save money and fall in line with Lake Macquarie, Wyong, Gosford and Wollongong council patrol calendars.
A move by several councillors to reinstate lifeguards for four weeks before the new season and three weeks after was voted down at last week's meeting, despite a few recent near-drownings.
Seven swimmers were caught in rips at Newcastle beach over the past few weeks.
A council report presented to councillors at the meeting said the reinstatement of lifeguards would cost $210,000.
Attempts by council staff in April and May to source private companies to pay for things like wetsuits, clothing, lifejackets and safety equipment failed.
The report said sponsorships were still being pursued, however, their value was still insufficient to resource the lifeguard services.
Lord mayor Jeff McCloy said there could be opportunities for a sponsorship plan, but it would require the community to work together.
Coastalwatch wants to install cameras at Newcastle beach, which would bring in a few hundred dollars, while a wet suit company wants to sponsor the lifeguards.
In the meantime, councillors voted to conduct a low-cost survey to see which beaches were the most popular.
Newcastle council still patrols three swimming spots year-round, and could possibly move lifeguards from Bar Beach, Nobbys Beach or Newcastle Ocean Baths to Newcastle Beach.