LIFE SAVERS have had their work cut out for them following another difficult season with over 100 rescues performed locally.
From November 1 to January 19 life savers and life guards have performed 104 rescues across the Geelong and Surf Coast area.
Of these rescues, 59 occurred in Geelong while 45 were performed along the Surf Coast.
Despite a high volume of swimmers requiring assistance, the successful rescues come as a relief as other parts of the state record three more drownings bringing the total to 38 lives lost since July.
Life Saving Victoria general manager Liam Krige has said it is no surprise the beach has been popular in recent weeks.
“After a difficult 2020 we know people are excited to get out on the water and relax, but you should never relax your vigilance and you should always play it safe by the water,” he said.
The second weekend of January brought the return of nice weather and, with it, 20 rescues had to be performed including eight at a popular Breamlea beach.
At 3pm on January 9, a flash rip occurred on the Bancoora Beach causing eight people to be rescued by patrols.
Life saving crews were able to complete the rescue operation in 20 minutes without the swimmers sustaining an injury.
“This incident is a timely reminder of just how quickly conditions can change,” Mr Krige said.
“Most people have just spent an extended period away from water in quarantine, so exercise caution around waterways, swim at patrolled beaches and always look out for your mates.”
Despite being a cooler summer, patrols have made a considerable number of rescues this year alone.
Beachgoers flocked to the water on January 11 as temperatures soured to the highest in 12 months.
The 38-degree day saw a further four rescues performed at Eastern Beach as strong winds brought about difficult rips.
“It’s situations like these that reinforce why swimming between the flags at patrolled beaches, supervising children and knowing your limits is so important,” Mr Krige said.
“No matter how strong a swimmer you are, the ocean is stronger.”
As a result of the disastrous six month-period across the state’s waterways, additional funding was allocated to LSV to assist in life saving practices.
Among the new recourses included a second life saving helicopter service that will remain positioned in Barwon Heads until Australia Day.
Since the start of this year, the helicopters have been deployed twice to the Torquay region to rescue a stranded sailor at Whites Beach as well as to locate a missing person. With more hot days still to come Mr Krige wants to remind the public to be aware when out in the water.
“Even one drowning incident is one too many, and so our message is simple: wherever possible swim between the flags, always supervise children and know your limits,” he said.