MEDIA RELEASE 17th January 2021
STAY SAFE AT THE ‘SPRAY THIS AUSTRALIA DAY LONG WEEKEND
Seaspray is expecting a surge in beachgoers this long weekend as Gippslanders and other Victorians enjoy the last few days of the school holidays at the coast.
The increase in visitor numbers has prompted a safety reminder from local volunteer surf life savers.
Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club president Chris Fleming said Seaspray was a popular choice for many people wanting to spend Australia Day at the beach.
“Australia Day is one of the busiest days of the year on the beach at Seaspray,” Mr Fleming said.
“People come down to dine at the bistro, watch the flag raising ceremony and enjoy the sand and surf.
“Our trained surf life savers know the beach well and erect the red and yellow flags at the safest place to get into the water, so please swim between the flags.”
Mr Fleming’s comments came after 35 people died in fatal drownings in Victoria from July 1 to December 28 last year. It is the highest number of lives lost for that six-month period on record.
The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2020 and Surf Life Saving National Coastal Safety Report 2020 found males accounted for 80% of all drowning deaths and 93% of fatalities in the 15 -34 age group recorded between July 2019 and June 2020. Risk taking and the use of drugs and alcohol were among the key factors in male drownings.
And according to the Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll, there have been 42 drowning deaths across Australia this summer including 20 at coastal locations. Thirteen lives have been lost in Victoria.
Mr Fleming urged beachgoers to stay safe at the beach this weekend.
“The safest place for everyone to swim is between the flags,” Mr Fleming said. “Please read the safety signs and follow the instructions of our surf life savers.
“Parents must supervise their children at all times and everyone please avoid alcohol and drugs if you are going to be around the water.
“We want everyone who comes to Seaspray to have a great day and have fun with their family and friends on our beautiful part of the Ninety Mile Beach.”
Patrol hours at Seaspray are from 9am to 5pm on Sundays and public holidays, and 1 to 5pm on Saturdays. Paid lifeguards will be on duty on weekdays and Saturday mornings until the Australia Day long weekend.
Local volunteer life savers will continue to patrol the beach on Saturday afternoons and Sundays until April 18.
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