AS they enter their 55th surf season, one prominent Shellharbour City-based club hopes to keep their perfect record of saving lives intact.
The 2013/14 NSW surf lifesaving season officially began last Saturday, and surf clubs urge beach users to follow basic rules.
More than 21,000 volunteer surf lifesavers will hit beaches throughout NSW, patrolling on weekends and public holidays until April.
Warilla-Barrack Point Surf Life Saving Club president Alan Beveridge, a member for 50 years, said this would include their 80 volunteers, aged from 13-60. About 30 have been patrolling Warilla Beach for between 15 and 40 years.
Members patrol from Windang Island to Barrack Point.
Mr Beveridge said furing the club's more than five decades, there had been no drownings at Warilla Beach.
"It's a record we're very proud of," the 61-year-old said.
Mr Beveridge said although rescue techniques had changed and new technology developed, at its core, surf lifesaving remained much the same. "We're all about preventing situations," he said.
Off-duty lifesavers battled a treacherous mix of rough seas, churning sand and tonnes of seaweed to find a submerged swimmer at North Shellharbour Beach on New Year's Eve, 2011.
A 25-year-old had been bodyboarding at the unpatrolled beach when he was hit by a wave and drowned.
At the time, Shellharbour SLSC president Wayne Cavanagh said North Shellharbour was regarded as a safe beach.
The previous drowning involved two sisters more than 40 years ago.
Mr Beveridge urged beach users to swim between the flags, be aware of the surfing environment you're in - and if in doubt, ask.
"Also, listen to the warnings of the media," he said.
"[Common errors include] people who won't walk 20 metres to go between the flags, and people with no knowledge of the surf walking straight into a rip.
"If people are stung by bluebottles or jellyfish and don't know what to do, go straight to those on patrol."
Mr Beveridge said surf lifesaving perhaps wasn't as popular these days, with other voluntary organisations resulting in a thinning of numbers.
The club is seeking more volunteers, with registration days on the next two Saturdays from 1pm-3pm.
This Sunday will be an open day from 9am-3pm.
"There are new opportunities in surf lifesaving," Mr Beveridge said.
"[You can learn] surf skills, surf awareness and how to save lives.
"We also have junior development, and you get to obtain plenty of other knowledge.
"Many former members have won state and Australian medals. It's also a good chance to make new friends and enjoy the camaraderie."
The club is at 7 Osborne Parade, Warilla.
For more information, visit warillasurf.org.au.