Government and Council bodies are giving locals and visitors information about water quality and safety, as the warmer weather attracts people to popular swimming spots.
The annual beach reporting season, which started last month, means water quality information will be displayed on signs at 28 Life Saving Victoria clubVersion:1.0 StartHTML:0000000167 EndHTML:0000000542 StartFragment:0000000457 EndFragment:0000000526
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s at beaches around the bay. The program provides the community with up-to-date information until the Labour Day weekend in March.
The information, collected by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), is based on the latest weather conditions, water quality history, recent bacterial sampling results and pollution reports. Beachgoers are encouraged to check the latest forecasts over summer by following EPA Victoria on Twitter or by checking yarraandbay.vic.gov.au.
Safety in the water is important, as 291 people drowned across Australia between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017. The greatest danger is to children, who should be supervised at all times. Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under five years of age in Victoria. Tourists who are not familiar with beaches are also at high risk.
Pool and spa owners should do a thorough check of their fences and gates.
All swimming pools and spas capable of holding more than a 30cm depth of water are legally required to have suitable independent, four sided child resistant safety barriers.
Remove hazards such as pot plants and chairs well away from pool fences, so that children can’t climb on them and over the fence.
Do not prop any doors or gates open that allow children access to a body of water.
Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack warns people to be cautious with flotation aids, such as armbands, attached rings and swimming aid vests. “They are not safety devices and if children are using them they should have constant adult supervision,” he says.
In addition, it is wise to learn how to perform resuscitation techniques, and to enrol your child in swimming classes. These can be found on most Council websites.