The Smiths Beach Rescue Base was officially opened at a beach ceremony in May by Victoria’s Emergency Services Minister James Merlino, after a seven-year campaign.
The base is designed as a satellite facility to Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club, which will provide lifesavers at the base located at Smiths Beach, Phillip Island’s most popularly-attended beach.
Funding for the project was sourced through a donation by the Phillip Island Rotary Club and a number of generous donations from past and current volunteer members of the Woolamai Beach SLSC.
Thanks to a grant of $225,000 from the Victorian State Government – via the Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grant, the club has been able to provide a fit-for-purpose site for its critical lifesaving services.
Landscape Architects Tract Consulting provided the final concept designs for the rescue base, which they offered as an in-kind contribution.
The design includes several innovative and environmentally-sensitive features, including vertical timber cladding, which prevents sand build-up and discourages nesting birds, while providing shade for patrollers. Another is its structural form, which mitigates rain water run-off and prevents dune erosion.
Constructed off-site by local builder Kane Worthy, the tower was dropped in by crane and attached to the concrete foundations above the sand on steel pillars.
Smiths Beach is patrolled by lifesavers from Woolamai Beach SLSC on weekends and public holidays during the summer season, with professional lifeguards operating on weekdays in the peak summer period.
Over the previous season, lifeguards performed 2,021 preventive actions, 22 first aid treatments, and 8 rescues at Smiths Beach.
“This is an invaluable addition to Smiths Beach, which will ultimately mean more people are safe while enjoying this beautiful environment,” says Andrew Foran, LSV General Manager Lifesaving Club Development.
“We know that Phillip Island is visited by thousands of holiday makers, tourists and also locals every summer, and it is essential to ensure their safety at the beach,” says Andrew. “Woolamai Beach SLSC does an outstanding job running patrols here over summer, now their job will be made even easier with the new rescue base.”
Woolamai Beach SLSC and LSV strongly encourage beach visitors to swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags.
To check the patrol times at Smiths Beach this summer, visit Beachsafe.