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Weekend water tragedies highlight need for Gippslanders to stay vigilant on water safety

On Saturday in Barwon Heads, a man lost his life when his boat capsized while fishing. At Rye on Sunday, two escaped a rip, but a search is ongoing for a third person at sea.

By news@gippsland - 5th February 2024 - Back to News

Life Saving Victoria and Ambulance Victoria have issued a warning to Victorians to be alert to the dangers of water after a weekend of water tragedies. Despite the warnings, Lifesavers and Paramedics responded to several incidents across the weekend, resulting in two fatal drownings. A man lost his life while fishing in Barwon Heads on Saturday morning, after his boat capsized in rough waters while fishing with a friend. While one man made it to safety, the other man became trapped when the boat capsized.

Many go to unpatrolled spots without seeking advice from lifeguards. Awareness of one's abilities is crucial in potentially hazardous conditions

Many go to unpatrolled spots without seeking advice from lifeguards. Awareness of one's abilities is crucial in potentially hazardous conditions

Water safety reminders

While at Rye on Sunday night, two people managed to get to shore after getting caught in a large rip. The search continues for a third person lost at sea. Other incidents yesterday include five people trapped in a cave off Bushrangers Bay after they were pushed off rocks and became injured and unable to get out, three people who got into difficulty at Kilcunda, and several incidents in Torquay. Many of these incidents were at unpatrolled beaches.

As temperatures soared across the state, LSV General Manager Lifesaving Services Liam Krige said these incidents are a timely reminder of the dangers you can face entering the water without awareness. "We are extremely concerned about the number of drownings we are seeing across the Victorian coastline and in inland waterways, " he said.

Preventable water tragedies

Mr Krige also said, "To date this summer, we have seen 22 drownings. That is far too many. Many of those are preventable and avoidable. This weekend alone we have seen significant incidents. People are attending unpatrolled locations in the first instance and aren't getting advice from lifesavers that are on the beaches."

"They are perhaps not aware of their own abilities when they are heading into those dangerous conditions. Rescue is the last resort. People can do a lot more by heeding the safety advice before they even get to that situation," he said.

Water safety awareness

Ambulance Victoria's Director of Emergency Management Justin Dunlop said paramedics had responded to far too many drownings and near-misses at coastal and inland waterways this year. "We urge people to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention around water, never swim alone, don't swim if you've been drinking and know the conditions before jumping in."

"It's everyone's responsibility to do their part to keep themselves and others safe around water. We'll be there to provide the best possible emergency care when you need us, however we'd prefer all Victorians to enjoy our beautiful waterways safely and without us," he said.

To find one of our 67 patrolled locations, visit BeachSafe website.

Pictures from 7 News Australia YouTube channel.


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