A total of 126 rescues were performed across Victoria by volunteer lifesavers and paid lifeguards from Monday 22nd January to Sunday 28th January, including the Australia Day long weekend when Melbourne’s temperature peaked at 38.1 degrees on Sunday.
The extreme heat kept volunteer lifesavers and paid lifeguards busy with 20,451 preventive actions and 207 first aid incidents during the last week of the school holidays. Beach attendance over the long weekend at patrolled locations is estimated at 432,533 people who sought relief from the heat.
“After a shocking summer for drownings, with the highest number over summer since records began in 2000, we’d like to thank the public for heeding our calls for water safety,” says LSV General Manager, Paul Shannon. “We’re pleased to report no one drowned on our coastal beaches this long weekend.”
The weekend didn’t go without incidents, and on Saturday, two fathers and five children were caught in a rip current at Airey’s Inlet, being dragged to the back of the break before surfers and beachgoers took on the role of everyday lifesavers, and were assisted by the nearby Fairhaven SLSC patrollers.
Father Chris Corr and his friend were kayaking and he says the group – including children aged between 8 and 13 – were all strong swimmers and experienced in the surf. Thankfully, previously learnt lifesaving skills proved to be very valuable.
“Even the strongest swimmers can find themselves in trouble in the surf,” says Mr Shannon. “This could have ended tragically in a very different outcome and all members of the public should be praised. The fact the group stayed calm and didn’t panic is a huge learning for others to remember if they get caught in a similar situation.
Two-thirds of people don’t know how to identify a rip, or what to do if caught in one. LSV urges everyone to brush up on their rip current knowledge at: https://beachsafe.org.au/surf-safety/ripcurrents.
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, and assisting in the rescue at Airey’s Inlet.
LSV also operated Rescue Water Craft (jet skis) from a number of locations across the coast and in Port Phillip Bay.
Do you need more information? Learn more about aquatic risks and be prepared when you have a swim.