The red and yellow flags will go up on Lake Macquarie beaches on Saturday for what lifeguard team leader Danny Napper is tipping to be a "bumper season".
Both professional lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers will begin patrolling after the five-month winter break. All 32 council lifeguards completed a series of "familiarisations and inductions" at Blacksmiths beach yesterday ahead of the season launch.
Mr Napper said they had been schooled on the COVID-19 advice set out by the NSW government and would be encouraging beachgoers to socially distance.
"We are promoting that people use the beach more for recreation rather than a full-day pastime," he said.
"Use the swim-and-go approach. We still want people to swim in the flags, but once you're out of the water and on the sand - keep distant and keep safe."
The four patrolled beaches - Redhead, Blacksmiths, Caves Beach and Catherine Hill Bay - can each accommodate up to 5000 persons under the "one person per four square metres" rule.
Beachgoers are advised to keep a towel-length apart.
"We're really lucky in that the geography works for us," Mr Napper said.
"We don't really want to promote people going around the corner where there's no patrolled beaches.
"The [patrolled] beaches are beautiful and there's a lot of room on them as well."
Mr Napper said he expected the beaches to be more populated this season by locals exploring their own backyard and Sydneysiders looking beyond the city.
"I think we'll have a bigger year, we have seen more numbers in pre-season before the flags go up," he said.
"Overall, because people can't travel overseas and some of the borders are still up stopping interstate travel, I think we'll get a lot more people exploring the NSW coastline."
Lifeguards will patrol Lake Macquarie beaches until Anzac Day.