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BEACHGOERS have been urged to stay safe on our coastlines following the drownings of three people in a tragic start to the holiday season.
Life Saving Victoria on Thursday renewed calls for swimmers to stay between the red-and-yellow flags as they ramped up lifeguard numbers at 57 beaches.
Three men have lost their lives on Victorian beaches in recent days. A 63-year-old drowned at Breamlea on the Bellarine Peninsula on Wednesday. Police suspect the local man suffered a heart attack while taking an afternoon dip.
That tragedy followed the suspected drowning of Indian student Hemant Govekar at Woolamai on Phillip Island on Christmas Day. A 44-year-old Sydenham man died after he struck trouble in the water while trying to save his children at Skenes Creek on the Great Ocean Road on December 22.
With more than 535,000 people already recorded to have flocked to patrolled Victorian beaches this summer, LSV’s operations manager Greg Scott said keeping everyone safe was paramount.
He said lifeguards had rescued 94 beachgoers already this season and treated 308 people with first aid.
Eagle-eyed lifesavers have also taken a staggering 16,912 “preventive actions”, averting tragedy by moving people away from a rip current. Mr Scott said it was important everyone knew how dangerous beaches could be.
“Conditions can change quickly, so we ask people to check weather forecasts and monitor conditions,’’ he said.
“To ensure your day at the beach is an enjoyable one, consider your own abilities as well as the abilities of any children or family members with you before entering the water.”
Mr Scott also urged people to swim at patrolled beaches when possible; know how to identify and avoid rip currents; and to avoid swimming alone and while intoxicated.
The latest Life Saving Victoria drowning report, released this month, revealed 45 people drowned across the state in the last financial year, a figure 20 per cent above the 10-year average. Thirty-two per cent of the deaths were on beaches.
Beach patrols will continue until the end of Easter. You are also urged to complete a first aid course for your own safety.
To find your nearest patrolled beach, visit beachsafe.org.au
Also see the following link to book in to your nearest Canberra First Aid Course www.canberrafirstaid.com