Local beaches safe this summer

Club Captain Director of Lifesaving Amenah McDonald

Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club (OGSLSC) is gearing up for a huge finale to the holiday season next weekend, but patrols so far have been somewhat uneventful according to Club Captain Director of Lifesaving Amenah McDonald.

The early forecast for the last weekend before school heads back is favourable for large numbers of beachgoers.

“We did have a day where there were quite a few rips and a few novice surfers got into trouble, so I think there were probably three rescues that day,” McDonald said.

“Other than that, we’ve had no huge rescue days, which is good.”

The club has been assisted by paid volunteers and jet ski patrols by Life Saving Victoria and regular patrols by the Westpac helicopter.

McDonald said crowd numbers were about the same as last year.

“I think it’s probably comparable to last year,” she said.

“There’s still huge numbers, people parking everywhere. We haven’t had great weather so I reckon that’s kept numbers manageable.”

McDonald urged any beachgoer to report unsociable behaviour to lifeguards, who can then report it to the police.

OGSLSC has nine patrols of around 20 lifeguards on each patrol. The club will continue to patrol local beaches until the end of the April school holidays.

“We actually started earlier this year at the start of November so we’ve got more patrolling days than we’ve ever had before,” McDonald said.

McDonald said the general behaviour of beachgoers this summer had been good.

“I was patrol captain on New Year’s Day and I didn’t see one broken bottle,” she said.

“There was no aftermath of New Year’s Eve, that’s for sure. It was well managed by Barwon Coast.”

The club has just celebrated 75 years since it officially affiliated with the Victorian Centre of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (now called Life Saving Victoria) and will host the Senior Victorian Lifesaving Championships in March.

The Pink Zinc patrols that celebrate women in lifesaving return on February 17 and the club will introduce a Rainbow Patrol to celebrate lifesaving in the LGBTIQA+ community on March 16.