With warm temperatures on Christmas Day and Boxing Day likely to draw beachgoers and holiday makers to the state’s many and varied waterways, Life Saving Victoria is urging all Victorians to pay close attention to water safety.
Extra lifeguards will be on patrol at beaches from this week, with the Christmas to Australia Day period traditionally the busiest time on Victorian beaches.
Nine beaches will have Christmas Day patrols to meet increased demand including Beaumaris, Brighton, Mentone, Port Melbourne, Sandridge and South Melbourne – with Smith’s Beach and Woolamai Beach at Phillip Island as well as Eastern Beach in Geelong also having lifeguards on Christmas Day.
Information about patrolled beach locations and times is available at www.beachsafe.org.au
Life Saving Victoria’s General Manager Lifesaving Services Simon White said water safety needed to be front of mind for people visiting state’s beaches, rivers and pools to cool off.
“We want all Victorians and visitors to our state’s beaches, rivers, pools and waterways to return home safe after enjoying the water this holiday period,” he said.
“Life Saving Victoria continues to encourage people to always swim between the red and yellow flags at patrolled beaches, never to swim alone and to be aware of the conditions.
“This also means being realistic about the limitations of your own skills and fitness – and it’s so important to avoid swimming or recreating in dangerous surf.”
The warning comes after two rock fishing incidents along Victoria’s coast earlier this week.
A Melbourne man drowned after being swept off the rocks at Separation Creek, near Wye River, early morning on Sunday and another incident occurred on Monday, with police and emergency services searching for a man believed to have been swept off the rocks at Punchbowl at Phillip Island, Mr White said.
“The disappearance of a second rock fisher in as many days on Victoria’s coasts is a sad reminder of the need for people who like fishing to heed water safety messages,” he said.
“Rock fishers should always fish with a friend, wear a life jacket, check the conditions, wear light safety clothing and carry safety gear. Phillip Island in particular has received more than its fair share of tragedy in recent years, with two drownings at Woolamai on Christmas Eve last year.
“Life Saving Victoria’s recently released Drowning Report for 2018-19 has shown an increased need for people who may not intend to enter the water to be careful – with unintentional water entry via slips, trips and falls the most common activity before drowning in Victoria last year.”
For media enquiries and interviews, contact LSV media on 03 9670 6970 or firstname.lastname@example.org