COUNCILLORS have warned people to be extra cautious around Bathurst waterways after hearing about the heroic efforts of lifeguards at Chifley Dam on Sunday.
Two women and a young girl were rescued by Bathurst Aqua Park staff after their boat capsized near the middle of the dam.
Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke and councillor Alex Christian said that without the quick-thinking of the lifeguards, three people would have drowned that day.
“If it wasn’t for their bravery and their actions, we would have had the worst start to 2019,” Cr Christian said.
“There are two women and one child who are alive today because of the aqua park staff.”
Councillors Christian and Bourke said that, when they were lobbying for council to support the park, it was largely for the economic and tourism benefits.
It never crossed their minds at the time that the aqua park would increase safety at Chifley Dam, but now they feel it is the biggest selling point.
Multiple trained lifeguards are on watch duty at the aqua park at any one time during its hours of operation, while there are full first aid facilities at the kiosk that are available to all dam users.
“This park has probably saved three lives out on the dam and that’s just in their first year,” Cr Bourke said.
“They could save one life every year … that’s why we’ve got to support it.”
In addition to praising the facility, the councillors said that Sunday’s incident was a timely reminder for people to think carefully about safety before getting into the water.
They urged people to make sure their boats were equipped with lifejackets for every passenger and to never go out in rough conditions.