Hot weather is forecast for the end of the week, prompting lifesavers to remind the public to ‘draw the line’ on rip currents when heading to the beach.
“On New Year’s Day, there were 118,243 beachgoers at our 57 patrolled locations,” says Kane Treloar, LSV acting lifesaving operations manager. “That’s more than twice as many as over the previous weekend and 15 rescues were performed alongside 3,784 preventive actions and 134 first aid applications.”
His message for beachgoers looking for relief from the hot weather is to draw a line in the sand when they get to the beach to stop, look and plan before rushing into the water.
“Our lifesavers are working hard to keep beachgoers safe within the flags, but people need to help us by choosing one of the patrolled locations through beachsafe.org.au and educate themselves about rip currents,” says Mr Treloar, who volunteered his time on New Year’s Day as a crew member on board the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.
The plea comes a day after four people were rescued from a rip at Venus Bay’s No. 5 Beach in Eastern Victoria, just 4km from the Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club.
In the early afternoon, a 33-year-old woman was rescued from a rip by volunteer lifesavers, who were called to help from local police, and two fifteen-year-olds were also rescued by surfers/bystanders.
Later in the afternoon, another person was rescued from a rip by bystanders in the same location, with a further rescue being made by volunteer lifesavers just half an hour later, this time at the patrolled location.
“We saw an increase in the strength and frequency of rip currents last season, so it’s important that people become familiar with how to identify, avoid and escape rip currents,” says Mr Treloar. “They can occur at all beaches, even in bays.”
Videos explaining rip currents are available on beachsafe.org.au in multiple languages.
“It’s also important that people realise just how dangerous beaches can be – even when the weather is nice, so always check the weather reports and ocean conditions before heading out on the water,” says Mr Treloar, “and check the VicEmergency website or app for real time warnings and beach safety information.”
Volunteer lifesavers provide patrols on weekends and most public holidays over the summer season. Additional services are provided at unpatrolled locations and midweek by employed lifeguards during the peak summer period.
Information about patrolled beach locations and times is available at www.beachsafe.org.au.