It's official: Wollongong's beaches are among the safest and best in the state.
Wollongong City Council beaches were yesterday recognised with two gongs in the NSW Clean Beaches Awards, the region's 17 patrolled beaches collectively winning the Safety and Services award and named runners-up in the overall Clean Beach award for the Sydney and Illawarra division.
"It says a lot about the quality of our beaches, but the major issue for us is safety," said Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, who attended yesterday's awards presentation at Maroubra Beach.
"We spend $4 million a year on our beaches, and have a team of highly skilled staff on patrol."
The council's surf awareness program taught in schools, TAFE and the university was singled out for praise by the Keep Australia Beautiful committee.
The campaign, which harnesses "presentations, information packages, the use of signage, QR code [and] council's website" to spread the message, was praised as "innovative" and a key factor in the safety award.
"Council takes the safety responsibility seriously," Cr Bradbery said.
Wollongong's beaches were "highly commended" in the Sydney and Illawarra region for the overall category, behind Cronulla Beach. Fingal Head Beach at Tweed Heads and Cookies Beach near Batemans Bay were named the overall NSW winners.