During one of the busiest days on record at the Inverloch Surf Beach last Sunday, volunteer life guards Samantha O’Neill, Alex Monacella and Enya Campbell extended the reach of the Inverloch Surf Lifesaving Club by checking on swimming and other beach activities away from the main flagged swimming area in front of the surf club. Inverloch SLSC also staffed an outpost around near the Inverloch Boat Ramp at the weekend where the area was extremely busy with swimmers, boats and jet skis. M105214
THE Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club has had a relatively quiet start to the beach patrol season, with just two rescues and two instances of first aid.
Aside from a suspected shark sighting on Sunday, December 28 at the back of Woolamai beach, WSLC Chief Instructor Brendan Smart said the club was quite happy with the season so far.
“A jet-ski rider reported a sighting of a shark to the patrol and the Woolamai beach was closed,” he said.
“The helicopter came and cleared the area with no confirmed shark sighting.
“We usually have one to two shark sightings a season, but we take all shark alarms seriously and go through the process.”
The club has had weekend patrols since November 29 and daily patrols began on Boxing Day.
In the 11 days of patrol so far, only two rescues have taken place, with both rescues from outside the patrolled area.
Two minor instances of cuts and abrasions have needed first aid attention.
Smart said the patrols are big on preventative action.
“We’re identifying people that will need rescuing if we don’t do anything, so we shift them back towards the flags and educate them,” he said.
“Both rescues have been outside the patrolled areas so it shows you should always swim in patrolled areas.”
The club has a team of professional lifeguards who work together with the volunteers, with patrols at Cape Woolamai, Smiths Beach and Cowes.
The lifeguards will patrol beaches every day until January 26.
The popular Nippers program at Cape Woolamai began on Sunday with the first ever twilight nippers session and will continue in the normal morning timeslot until January 4.
As well as the Nippers program, the WSLC has 19 participants aged 13-14 taking part in the Surf Rescue Certificate, which is the next step from Nippers before the Bronze Medallion.
THE Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club is looking to continue its quiet start to the season as the beaches begin to get busier.
The club is patrolling the Inverloch Surf Beach, as well as an outpost patrol at the busy Anderson Inlet.
No rescues have been reported so far this season and there have only been a few minor first aid incidents.
Despite the positive start, volunteer lifesaver Hilary Hughes said people at the beach need to be mindful of changing conditions.
“Sand movements have seen a lot of the conditions change,” she said.
“We have been getting plunging waves that are quite strong and swimmers and surfers need to be mindful of this.”
Although the rescue front has been quiet, the Inverloch SLSC volunteers have been kept on their toes with 175 Nippers participating in the two-week program and 31 children aged 13-14 taking part in the Surf Rescue Certificate program.
The Inverloch Surf Beach will have a visit from Volleyball Australia this Thursday and Friday, working with the older Nippers and introducing them to the sport.
Hughes would like to remind beach-goers to seek help from life savers.
“If people have first aid issues or anything they need assistance with- we’re here to help out,” she said.
“We’re gearing up for a busy day on Saturday with the weather tipped to be hot.”
THE tragic drowning of a tourist at Venus Bay Beach Number 4 last week was a reminder of the dangers of swimming at unpatrolled beaches.
The Number 1 Beach at Venus Bay is the only beach along the coastline that is regularly patrolled.
This beach has had approximately 4000 attendees since patrols began this season and life savers have conducted approximately 100 preventative actions, from moving swimmers back between the flags to notifying swimmers of rips.
Venus Bay Club Captain Brooke Gee hopes the public will take notice after the tragedy last week.
“We’re in the top few dangerous beaches in the state and people need to be aware that that’s why we’re pushing people to go to Number 1 Beach,” Gee said.
“They’re all dangerous beaches, but Beach 1 is deemed safer than all the others because of our presence, and our ability to respond quickly.
“For us to respond to beaches 2 to 5 we have to take resources away from the patrolled area and it puts more stress on our resources.
“We can take half an hour to respond to
incidents at the other beaches.”
Parking has been a problem which the Venus Bay SLSC is trying to eradicate.
Gee said the club is pushing people to use the community bus service between the Venus Bay Community House and the Number 1 Beach.
“The bus is free and you don’t have to wait more than 5 to 10 minutes.”
“You can park around the back of the shops then the bus can drop you off at the beach so the carpark area isn’t congested.”
The club’s Nippers program began on Saturday, with 160 youngsters participating in the three-week program.