Life Saving Victoria is urging beachgoers to swim between the red and yellow flags this holiday season, following the tragic drowning of a 41-year-old father at Skenes Creek on the Great Ocean Road last week.
Extra lifeguards will be on patrol from this week, with the Christmas to New Year period traditionally the busiest time on Victorian beaches.
Figures from the latest Victorian Drowning Report, released by LSV at the start of December, show that 32% of drowning deaths in Victoria occurred in a bay, beach or ocean environment.
Victoria has 811km of ocean beaches and 259km of bay beaches.
Life Saving Victoria’s Lifesaving Operations Manager Greg Scott says it’s important people realise just how dangerous beaches can be, even on a calm day.
“Conditions can change quickly so we ask people to check weather forecasts and monitor the conditions,’’ Mr Scott said.
“To ensure your day at the beach is an enjoyable one, consider your own abilities as well as the abilities of any children or family members with you, before entering the water.
“Know how to identify and avoid rip currents. Three-quarters of people cannot identify a rip current, and two-thirds of the people who think they can spot a rip, can’t.’’
He said to swim at patrolled beaches when possible, so our lifesavers can help keep you safe.
Lifesavers patrol 57 locations on weekends over summer and during the peak period lifeguards are employed to patrol on weekdays and at additional locations.
For further information on patrolled locations and times visit beachsafe.org.au.
Download the VicEmergency app to stay up-to-date with emergency warnings and beach closures.
For further information call LSV media on 0411 193 962