A NEW Year’s Day near tragedy has highlighted the need to play safe around and in water off bayside beaches in the hot summer weeks ahead.
A boy and a girl playing by rocks near the mouth of Patterson River were swept into the river at about 7pm on 1 January.
An adult family member reached the boy but the five-year-old girl was carried out to sea by the river current.
Three men responded to cries for help and managed to rescue the girl.
Carrum Surf Life Saving Club is again urging people not to swim near Patterson River.
Club president Ben Rooks says beachgoers should always swim between the flags so lifesavers on duty can see them if they get into strife.
Lifesavers patrolled Carrum beach from 10am until 8pm on the hottest day of this summer so far on Saturday (6 January) and rescued four people in two incidents.
When the cool change swept through the area some swimmers were caught in a rip into Patterson River.
“Two 18-year-old men ended up in the channel of the Patterson River and were rescued just after 6pm,” he said.
A 12-year-old boy was plucked out of the water at about 7.20pm on the Saturday near the river mouth and a 16-year-old girl was rescued in the area at about 7.45pm.
“It’s a notorious spot and there have been drownings there in previous decades,” Mr Rooks said.
“The population is growing and little Carrum beach is really quite dangerous.
“People need to know about the danger there and swim outside the life saving club.”
Life Saving Victoria advised there were 74 rescues by lifesavers across the state on Saturday as the temperature across Melbourne and its suburbs soared to 42 degrees celsius before the cool change.
LSV lifesaving operations manager Greg Scott said it was a busy weekend for Victorian lifesavers.
There have been 11 drowning deaths across the state since the start of summer, the highest number in more than a decade.
“Sadly, there were two lives lost to drowning at Victorian beaches on Saturday, with incidents at Altona and Williamstown, as well as a number of non-fatal incidents across the state,” Mr Scott said.
“These incidents are a tragic reminder of the inherent dangers of our beaches and all waterways, including bay beaches, rivers, lakes and creeks.”