Lifesaving patrols kick off
RED and yellow flags are up at local beaches across the Surf Coast and Bellarine, directing beachgoers on where to swim to stay safe by the water this summer.
Last Saturday (November 11) was the official start of the Victorian 2023/24 lifesaving patrol season.
Thousands of dedicated Victorian lifesavers and lifeguards will be on duty to safeguard people at the beach and make sure people are swimming between the flags.
With a declared El Niño weather pattern bringing warmer temperatures this summer, local clubs are preparing for a busy peak season with more people expected to hit the beaches to cool off.
As well as swimming between the flags, people are encouraged to never swim alone, familiarise themselves with the conditions and assess risks before entering the water.
Jan Juc SLSC lifesaving services manager, Olivia Jenkins said it was important for lifesavers to be prompt in educating the community on aquatic safety.
“Jan Juc is quite a treacherous beach at times, particularly for those who haven’t been to a surf beach.
“There are many people who come down and are unaware of how to spot a rip, or don’t have strong swimming ability.
“All our lifesavers are educated on how to spot the dangers and are prompt in educating our community on how to swim and surf safely.
“We just want to make sure everyone gets home safe.”
Bancoora SLSC patroller Cooper Welsh said his local beach would face increasing crowds over summer, particularly due to it being located close to many new growth areas.
“It’s so important to keep our patrons safe and make sure they aren’t getting themselves into danger.
“We do expect the crowds to grow a lot more this summer, so we’ve added about 30 more to our new nippers programs and more to our water safety and patrols to mirror this.”
Torquay SLSC patroller, Abbey Sweeney said Torquay attracts a wide range of swimmers, making risk assessment a top priority for their team.
“Torquay is really accessible to locals and tourists who may not be familiar with the beach or how to use it safely.
“Many people who come down aren’t familiar with where they should swim, the rocks, the rips, and so on.
“It’s important for our lifesavers to go up to patrons at the beach and let them know what the red and yellow flags are.
“Education is ultimately the most important thing on a hot sunny day at Torquay.”
Lifesaving patrols will run until April 25, 2024 at most locations across Victoria.
Last summer, LSV lifesavers and lifeguards completed more than 256,000 patrol hours, performed 674 rescues, 11,000 first aids, 88 helicopter responses and more than 300,000 preventative actions to help keep beachgoers safe.
To find your nearest patrolled location, please visit beachsafe.org.au