This month, I had the privilege of joining Minister for Emergency Services Jaclyn Symes, LSV general manager lifesaving operations Liam Krige, and lifesavers Sarah (Sas) and Seb in raising the iconic red and yellow flags to launch the life saving patrol season for 2021 – 22. LSV lifesavers and lifeguards will patrol 60 beaches across the state from now until after Easter, keeping a watchful eye on swimmers, providing advice and guidance on water safety, and coming to their aid, should they find themselves in trouble. Summer patrols are a big part of what we do here at LSV, and I am looking forward to experiencing my first patrol season with LSV, as we pursue our mission of keeping people safe around water.
Another exciting development has been seeing Victoria reopening as the state reached the milestone of 90 per cent of Victorians being double vaccinated against COVID-19. Thank you to everyone who rolled up their sleeves to arm yourselves and others against COVID-19. Because of your efforts, Victorians know they can safely attend the beaches, pools and inland waterways we patrol, and be protected not only from drowning, but also from the risks associated with COVID-19.
Reopening means we are starting to enjoy our waterways and catch up with friends and loved ones and for me, it has meant visiting more of our fantastic lifesaving facilities across the state.
On 5 November I had the privilege of attending the sod turn for the new Brighton Life Saving Club, which will see one of Melbourne’s busiest beaches upgrade its 60-year-old clubhouse.
I also had the honour of attending Mordialloc LSC’s 100-year celebration on 20 November, with the milestone being marked with the launch of a wonderful book about the club’s history, ably driven and coordinated by member Grant Rattenbury.
During November, we celebrated our final Blue Connections event for 2021, with the wonderful positive energy of Martin Heppell from the Resilience Project. We look forward to another year of Blue Connections in 2022 and where possible, welcoming attendees back to LSV’s Port Melbourne headquarters.
The LSV annual general meeting was held on 13 November, during which we officially launched the LSV Strategic Plan 2021-25 and shared the key highlights and priorities with the board, council representatives and club members our 2021-2025 strategic plan, which we look forward to launching soon. During the meeting, we also welcomed our two new directors Aaron Green and Rebecca Schot-Guppy, and farewelled outgoing directors Rachael Rylance and Angela Malan.
As part of our summer preparations, I also attended the Great Ocean Road Parks and Coast Authority pre-summer briefing, where their new CEO, Jodie Sizer and I introduced our respective activities and priorities for the season. This was a great opportunity for us to discuss our shared goals of keeping people safe in the state’s west, caring for the environment and educating the community on how to protect vulnerable areas of our coastline.
Finally, November saw the Aquatic and Recreation Institute commence the five-week National Sports and Physical Activity Virtual Convention for 2021, which this year, is exploring how to engage communities in more physical activity and recreation participation post-COVID-19.
Looking ahead, the Play it Safe by the Water committee is taking Victoria’s annual Water Safety Week one step further, marking the entirety of December as Water Safety Month, and using this time to spread awareness of aquatic related risks this summer. Keep an eye out on our social media and in the community for our water safety messages – and be sure to help us spread the word!
I wish you all the very best for a safe and successful start to the summer season, which is already starting to ‘heat up’ with the combination of sunny skies and lifting of lockdowns. LSV’s public training and education teams have turned their attention to catching up on missed swimming lessons, by providing schools with vouchers for unclaimed sessions, while the training team delivered their busiest November ever training up new lifeguards.
With another very busy summer undoubtedly before us, I would like to thank our patrolling lifesavers and lifeguards, plus everyone working tirelessly behind the scenes in advance, for the selfless work you do to keep Victorians safe, and I look forward to meeting more of you between the flags this summer.