CARRUM beachgoers are being warned to avoid swimming or paddling near the mouth of the Patterson River after a weekend rescue saw six people saved from drowning by lifeguards.
Carrum Surf Life Saving Club secretary Ben Rooks said lifesavers pulled nine people in total out of the water on Saturday (19 December) as a heatwave hit Melbourne and its suburbs.
In the most serious incident a 12-year-old boy got into trouble near the mouth of Patterson River, a 16-year-old girl who went to help also got into strife and four adults who jumped in also had to be saved.
Mr Brooks says dredging of the river makes water depths uneven near the river mouth off the beach.
“You can go from being knee-high in water to it being over your head in the space of a metre or two,” he said.
Children can be picked up by a wave and then panic when they cannot put their feet back on sand under the water.
“Stay well away from the mouth of the river,” Mr Brooks said.
The six rescued on Saturday had a lucky escape since the incident occurred at about 6.30pm, an hour after lifesavers have usually stopped patrols for the day.
“The rescue occurred at a time we ordinarily wouldn’t be there but thankfully the club made the decision to stay back [due to weather forecast],” Mr Rooks said.
“We’re lucky because it could have been a lot worse.”
Mr Rooks says conditions off bayside beaches can change quickly and wind changes, especially when there is a cool change coming through, means currents can abruptly change direction.
“Ensure young children are within arm’s reach at all times and be aware of changing conditions,” he said.
Swimmers should always swim between the flags off beaches so lifesavers can see them if they get into trouble.
Lifesavers patrol on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays been midday and 5.30pm.
On the same Saturday that six people were plucked out of the sea near Patterson River, Carrum lifesavers also rescued two people who had jetski problems and another man swimming offshore.
The nine rescues topped last summer’s total of five throughout the summer period.