‘Urgent action’ needed for beach safety

‘Urgent action’ needed for beach safety
‘Urgent action’ needed for beach safety

BEACH users moved by the high number of drownings on Mornington Peninsula’s notoriously dangerous back beaches have started a petition calling for “urgent action” to improve safety. The Mornington Peninsula Back Beaches Collective is directing the petition to Parks Victoria through Environment Minister Steve Dimopoulos, following a summer marked by drownings and water incidents.

In February 20-year-old Cranbourne man and promising athlete Jona Kinivuwai was pulled out to sea by a rip while in the shallows at Rye back beach. His body has still not been found. One of the petition organizers, Rye surfer Drew Cooper, said it was another tragedy that should never have happened.

The petition is calling for all back beaches that have car parks to have signs in several languages ​​and remote recue tubes or other floatation devices. In Kauai, Hawaii, rescuer drownings dropped from 60 per cent to 13 per cent after the introduction of tubes. And in Coffs Harbour, NSW, there have been 13 known successful rescues involving tubes (and no unsuccessful rescues) during a 33-month trial.

“How many deaths on our back beaches will it take for Parks Victoria to take action,” Cooper said. “Drownings and near drownings are terrible, and adding to that is the risks to bystanders who are often confronted by people struggling in the water and in panic mode. “Rescuers have been pulled under themselves by people in that state so, instead of one drowning, you have two.”

Cooper said many people visited the picturesque back beaches with no understanding of the ocean and more needed to be done to protect them. He said there were many more tragic stories from the other unpatrolled beaches on the peninsula, with locals often having to put their own lives at risk. “Yet there has been no improvement in the inadequate warning signs or any installation of rescue equipment,” he said.

In 2023-2024, Victoria had its highest summer drowning total on record, with 26 lives lost. The back beaches of the peninsula are particularly deadly and largely unpatrolled. “Sadly, Jona Kinivuwai puts a face to the tragedies on our beaches,” Cooper said.

Nepean MP Sam Groth has also taken up the issue and has met with state Environment Minister Steve Dimopoulos to find ways to make the beaches safer.

To sign the petition, go to change.org/p/stop-back-beach-drownings-on-the-mornington-peninsula

First published in the Mornington News – 21st May 2024

-

-

PREV 650 billion per year thanks to its new oil deposit; this African country can rejoice
NEXT Taiwan: new exit from China with 23 planes and 7 warships