BEACH patrol season has ended and lifesavers are off duty for the winter. However, some Newcastle beaches will still be manned by lifeguards.
Across the board, members of the Hunter's 13 surf lifesaving clubs performed 296 rescues this season, down from 479 last season. They also took 15,572 preventative actions and carried out 609 first aid procedures.
On Sunday they hung up their caps for the last time until their weekend patrol resumes in September.
Swimmers' safety will now be in the hands of the individual, except at Nobbys beach, Bar Beach and Newcastle Ocean Baths, where council-employed lifeguards will patrol through the winter.
All beaches in Lake Macquarie will be unmanned during this period.
To better provide services where they are most wanted, Newcastle council has released a survey that asks participants which beaches they would prefer to be patrolled during the winter.
It offers the choice between Nobbys beach and Newcastle beach in the city precinct, and Bar Beach, Merewether beach and Dixon Park beach in the suburban precinct.
■ Newcastle council's Beach/Baths Patron survey closes on Monday, May 19. Go to newcastle.nsw.gov.au/council/community_consultation and select "current consultations".