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Lifesaving patrol season kicks off at Victorian beaches for 2019-20

Victorian beachgoers this summer will be kept a close eye on by thousands of volunteer lifesavers, with full lifesaving patrols having begun at the start of summer for the 2019-20 period.

The start of full patrols in Victoria for 2019 officially began on Sunday 1 December 2019 and full patrol services are set to run across bay and coastal lifesaving clubs until the end of March.

Last season volunteer lifesavers and lifeguards in Victoria performed 526 rescues, attended 2956 first aid incidents and helped keep more than 2.9 million visitors to the state’s beaches safe.

Life Saving Victoria’s Lifesaving Operations Manager Liam Krige said all beachgoers this summer were advised to swim between the flags, check weather conditions, read safety signs and assess whether water activities are appropriate given their abilities and fitness levels.

“While it is important to swim at a beach or water way with patrols present, it is equally important that the public are aware of the dangers surrounding our waterways and oceans, understand their own limitations and always take appropriate precautions to safeguard themselves against harm,” he said.

“Life Saving Victoria’s Drowning Report for 2018-19, released during Water Safety Week last week, revealed two thirds of drowning deaths in Victoria last year occurred in summer and autumn.

“It also showed drowning deaths in coastal areas have unfortunately increased, with a 46% increase in drowning deaths in coastal areas and ocean beaches last year compared to the 10year average.

“Ocean beaches and even bay beaches have hidden dangers such as rip currents, which is why it is important to always swim between the flags and check beachsafe.org.au to find patrolled beaches and 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.

For further information or interviews/photos with local patrols, please call LSV media on 03 9676 6970 or email media@lsv.com.au