Rescue increases show importance of patrol actions

January 23, 2020 BY

A LARGE number of rescues at beaches on the Surf Coast and around Victoria this past weekend has highlighted the quick actions of lifesaving patrols and the importance of swimming between
the flags, Life Saving Victoria said this week.

On January 18, there was a spike in the number of rescues performed across Victoria, with 42 rescues taking place across the state. Of those, 30 took place on the Surf Coast.

The number brings the total number of rescues along the Surf Coast since start of the 2019-20 patrol season to 66, which is 26 more than for the same period last year.

“Surf coast lifesavers’ and lifeguards’ fast and effective actions have gone a long way to preventing drowning tragedies this 2019-20 lifesaving season,” Lifesaving Victoria’s manager of lifesaving operations Liam Krige said.

“Saturday saw a much higher number of rescues than average – typically there are about 10 rescues across the state on a busy summer beach day – with surf conditions on the coast this weekend likely a contributing factor.”

Mr Krige said lifesavers’ and lifeguards’ increased proactive efforts were having a positive effect in helping to ensure the safety of beachgoers along the Surf Coast.

“Our trained and dedicated lifeguards and lifesavers are well placed to perform rescues and take action should the worst happen, and we have seen that in play this weekend.

“Taking steps to ensure safety before people get out on the water is another important role for patrols, of course, and we have also seen a rise in the number of preventative actions being taken this season by patrol members on the surf coast – with 12,522 preventative actions taken compared to 11,311 this time last year.

“Preventative actions can include patrols providing information about beach safety and the conditions and letting people know if they are swimming in an unsafe spot or near a rip current.

“We’d also like to commend the role of the Surf Coast Water Safety Campaign in supporting local ambassadors on the coast who are advocating the importance of the swim-between-the-flags message, with five campaign partners and 65 ambassadors having signed up to the campaign to date.

“It’s about reminding all those heading to Victorian beaches this summer that to play it safe by the water it’s crucial to know the conditions, to understand your abilities and to always swim between the red and yellow flags. Remember, if we can’t see you, we can’t save you.”