Life saving clubs across Victoria raised the red and yellow flags for the first time for season 2021-22 on Saturday 27 November, to officially open the patrol season.
Marking the safest places to swim at Life Saving Victoria’s (LSV’s) more than 60 patrolled locations, volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards will take to the beaches to run full patrol services until after Easter 2022.
Thanks to a boost from the Victorian Government, LSV is extending its patrol season for the second year in a row, following the busiest patrol season on record during 2020-21.
Last summer, Victorian lifesavers and lifeguards performed 612 rescues to keep an estimated 3.8 million beachgoers safe.
Tragically, last year also saw the state record its highest drowning toll in more than 20 years, with 61 people losing their lives in Victorian waters.
LSV general manager lifesaving services Liam Krige reminded those swimming and recreating on the water to make smart and safe decisions for themselves and their families this summer.
“With the lifesaving patrol season officially open, LSV is urging Victorians to make safety their top priority around water, to ensure they come home to their loved ones after enjoying everything our beautiful waterways have to offer,” Mr Krige said.
“Between the red and yellow flags is the safest place to swim on our coast, where there will be a dedicated contingent of volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards to keep a close eye on you and help you if you find yourself in trouble.
“Our lifesavers are supported by our eyes in the skies, our drone and helicopter fleets, and our 30 rescue watercraft which will be roving beyond the red and yellow flags out of nine strategic locations across the state.
“While these services provide a much-needed lifeline during emergency situations, rescue is the last line of defense, and we’d rather we didn’t have to use them at all.”
With another disrupted year in Victoria due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LSV anticipates the risks of season 2020-21 to continue into this summer. Despite this, Mr Krige said there are actions you can take to minimise these risks, so you can enjoy Victorian waterways safely.
“Plan your day out and be prepared for potential risks, and make sure you’re equipped with the necessary safety equipment to enjoy your day,” he said.
“Remember, if we can’t see you, we can’t save you, so swim between the red and yellow flags at a patrolled location wherever possible.
“With more than 60 patrolled locations across Victoria, there’s bound to be one near you.”
To find your nearest patrolled beach and patrol times, head to beachsafe.org.au.
For more information on how to stay safe around water this summer, head to our website, lsv.com.au.