A total of 74 rescues were performed across Victoria by volunteer lifesavers and paid lifeguards on Saturday 6 January, with Melbourne’s temperature soaring to 42 degrees in the afternoon.
The extreme heat kept lifesavers busy with an estimated 259,500 people visiting patrolled beaches across the state. Lifesavers performed 4,763 preventive actions and attended to 135 first aid incidents on Saturday.
LSV Lifesaving Operations Manager Greg Scott said that it had been a busy weekend for Victorian lifesavers.
“The hot conditions we experienced on Saturday saw huge numbers of people hit beaches in the bays and on the coast; our lifesavers and lifeguards performed over a quarter (74 rescues, 28%) of rescues for this season so far in just one day,” he said.
“The highest number of rescues were at Frankston and Rosebud, with lifesavers and lifeguards performing 9 rescues at each beach on Saturday. Other rescue hotspots included Williamstown beach (6) and the Geelong waterfront (5).”
“Since the start of summer, we’ve seen a 4.8 per cent increase in beach attendance at patrolled locations compared to this time last year. Notably, we’ve also recorded a significant 24.5 per cent increase in the number of rescues performed.
Volunteer lifesavers and paid lifeguards patrolled 67 locations across Victoria this weekend, with extra lifesavers called in to assist with the hot weather.
In addition to lifesavers and lifeguards on the beach, Victoria’s two Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopters provided vital support, keeping an eye on beachgoers from the sky.
LSV also operated Rescue Water Craft (jet skis) from a number of locations across the coast and in Port Phillip Bay.
LSV has issued an urgent plea for the public to exercise care around water after 11 reported drowning deaths in Victoria since the start of summer, the highest in over a decade. Since 1 July 2017 there have been 22 recorded drowning deaths (11 coastal, 7 inland waterways, 3 at pools and 1 unknown location).
“Sadly, there were two lives lost to drowning at Victorian beaches on Saturday, with incidents at Altona and Williamstown, as well as a number of non-fatal drownings across the state,” said Mr Scott.
“These incidents are a tragic reminder of the inherent dangers of our beaches and all waterways, including bay beaches, rivers, lakes and creeks.”
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View some of the media coverage from the weekend here: