Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : January 11, 2017 Contents THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017 - PAGE 17
Swimming inside the flags at Woolamai surf beach has always been a good idea, now we
Don’t risk the rip,
says Life Saving Vic
LIFE Saving Victoria is urging the public to
understand the dangers of rip currents, fol-
lowing a rise in coastal drownings and a large
number of rescues at Victorian beaches.
And they have mounted a special demonstra-
tion at Cape Woolamai beach to illustrate their
One life has already been lost this year in
waters at Ocean Grove, when a man was found
floating unconscious about 300 metres out-
side of the red and yellow flags on January 4.
There were 20 coastal drowning deaths last
financial year which was a 32 per cent in-
crease compared to the average for the previ-
This season our lifesavers and lifeguards
have already performed 229 rescues.
Yesterday marked the first anniversary of
a tragic double drowning at Cape Woolamai,
where a group of beach-goers got into trouble
in knee- deep water after getting caught in a
Earlier in the week Life Saving Victoria re-
leased a dye into a rip at the same beach and
filmed it from a helicopter to show just how
dangerous rip currents can be.
This season there has already been 19 res-
cues at the beach.
Life Saving Victoria Operations Manager
Greg Scott warns rips can occur at all beach
locations, including bays.
“Rips are the number one beach hazard for
swimmers and each year more people drown
in rips than from shark attacks, cyclones and
floods combined, ” Mr Scott said.
“Three quarters of people can’t identify a rip
current and two thirds of people who think
they can spot a rip can’t .”
He said some key signs to spot a rip include
deeper darker water, fewer breaking waves,
sandy coloured water extending beyond the
surf zone and debris or seaweed.
“If you are caught in a rip current, try to stay
calm and conserve your energy,” Mr Scott said.
“We suggest you attract attention by calling
out to seek help and either float with the cur-
rent or swim parallel to the beach. Reassess
the situation – if what you’re doing isn’t work-
ing, try another option in your attempt to re-
turn to shore.”
Better still, don’t get into that position and
swim between the flags.
No one has ever drowned in Victoria swim-
ming between the flags.
New research on rips
INTERNATIONAL research involving Mac-
quarie University has revealed new information
on dangerous rip currents that could help save
lives on Australian beaches this summer.
The groundbreaking research using cam-
era and GPS technology has revealed rips are
most intense when there is an absence of waves
breaking across the end of a rip channel.
When waves break across the end of a rip
channel, it essentially closes the channel and
stops the current from travelling far offshore.
But when there are no waves breaking across
the channel, rips can head offshore, potentially
pulling swimmers outside the surf zone too.
As summer begins, the findings could help
lifesavers and swimmers determine which rip
currents are more dangerous.
Macquarie University’s Shari Gallop worked
with the Universities of Southampton and
Plymouth in the UK on the latest study into rip
currents, and builds upon research that com-
bined video images and GPS drifter data with
information recorded using current meters and
water level sensors.
“This research will help people understand
the dynamics of rips better, and could poten-
tially save lives at Australian beaches,” Ms Gal-
“This study is unique in that we combine vid-
eo and GPS drifters to determine what makes
rip currents most dangerous.
“We found that rips can be potentially more
dangerous when you don’t see any waves break-
ing across the rip channel.
“This is because these rips can reach past the
surf zone, rather than circulating inside it.
“This simple observation may help lifeguards
more easily identify how a rip will behave, help-
ing them to protect swimmers at beaches this
Number one hazard
Rip currents are the number one hazard on
Australian beaches and it is estimated there are
about 17,000 rips at beaches around Australia
at any one time.
As they can be hard to spot, these findings
will help people make more informed assess-
ments as to the dangers they may face at the
Swimmers caught in a rip should stay calm,
and not try to swim against the current.
Stay afloat, signal for help and, if you can, try
to swim towards the white water.
THE State Government has released its re-
view into native vegetation clearing regulations,
including proposed changes, fulfilling an elec-
Under the proposal, Victorians seeking per-
mission to clear native vegetation would be able
to provide additional information about their
property that leads to a more accurate assess-
ment and potentially cost savings.
Other proposed changes include:
• placing a greater emphasis on protecting
native vegetation by avoiding its removal where
• making offsetting obligations for the remov-
al of scattered trees fairer by acknowledging the
habitat values of large trees and reducing the
offset requirements for small trees.
• increased monitoring and reporting on na-
tive vegetation losses and offsets.
These regulations provide for no net loss of
native vegetation, part of the overall objective of
a net gain for native vegetation.
Improvements will be delivered through
changes to the relevant clauses of the Victoria
Planning Provisions (VPP) and all Victorian
The review involved extensive consultation,
including a stakeholder reference group that
provided valuable advice on the issues and im-
provements considered in the review.
The Victorian community is invited to com-
ment on the proposed changes. For more infor-
mation visit Engage Victoria: www.engage.vic.
Consultation closes at 5pm on Sunday, Feb-
ruary 5, 2017.
Native vegetation regulations review completed
Grants to keep Bass Coast clean
SUSTAINABILITY Victoria has funded
three projects aimed at reducing littering
and illegal dumping in Bass Coast through
its Litter Innovation Fund.
The region received $38,500 in grants,
shared between three organisations; the
Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island
Nature Parks and the San Remo Foreshore
The projects will run over a 12-month pe-
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield,
said the council allocation of $8500 will ad-
dress illegal dumping within the Bass Coast
“Illegal dumping can be linked to a lack
of knowledge of what can be disposed of at
waste transfer and recycle centres for free or
minimal cost, and in fact, the majority of il-
legal dumping in the region consists of items
that could have been disposed of for free at a
waste facility,” Cr Rothfield said.
The project includes free ‘Follow Your
Waste’ tours for community groups of the
Grantville Transfer Station and Landfill, and
the Wonthaggi Recyclers depot.
These tours will be run from February to
July 2017 and will help community mem-
bers gain a good understanding of what can
be taken to a transfer station and how a
The project will also include the installa-
tion of new signs and monitoring of promi-
nent illegal dumping hot spots. Community
groups can contact the Council’s Waste Ser-
vices Team if they would like to arrange a
‘Follow Your Waste’ tour.
Phillip Island Nature Parks received a
$20,000 grant to fund its project titled ‘Turn
the Tide’, an enquiry based student program
addressing the impacts of school litter and
Its objective is to engage and inspire stu-
dents to take action and reduce litter at
school, home, local community and the ma-
‘Turn the Tide’ will provide 120 Year 7
and 8 students from eight schools in the
Gippsland area a unique opportunity to
work in the field with scientists and rang-
ers to develop a detailed understanding of
impacts of litter on the marine environment.
Through conducting school litter audits,
hands on marine debris clean ups and im-
plementing students’ action plans at their
school or in their local community, students
see their actions can make a difference.
“‘Turn the Tide’ is predominately about
educating students on the problems associ-
ated with litter and marine debris and the
importance of working together,” said Kim
Dunstan, Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Edu-
“Litter enters the marine environment by
many different pathways. The majority origi-
nates from land based sources. Litter can
be blown, dumped, thrown and washed into
stormwater drains, creeks and rivers, each
leading to the ocean. Litter pollutes beaches
and kills marine wildlife. ”
The San Remo Foreshore Committee of
Management, in partnership with the Fish-
erman’s Co-operative and local schools, will
educate locals and visitors about how litter
effects the marine environment thanks to a
The project aims to create a sense of stew-
ardship for the local environment and students
will be involved in beach clean-up days and
monitoring types of litter collected at the site.
Multi-age activities will be produced to en-
gage and deepen an individual’s awareness
of the effects of litter. Each activity empow-
ers the students, demonstrating that one
individual, no matter their age, can make a
difference to help protect the environment.
An iconic sculpture celebrating the pelican
and building awareness of the hazards of
plastic to our marine life is being produced
by local artist David Alexander Kopelman.
Royal response delights residents
A SPECIAL delivery in the mail last week
had a number of residents at Bass Coast
Health’s Kirrak House royally delighted – af-
ter all it’s not every day one receives a letter
from the Queen!
Earlier in the year, residents decided to get
into the spirit of the Queen’s 90th birthday by
holding a celebratory lunch in honour of Her
Realising that this occasion would need to
be celebrated in particular style, they decided
to adorn themselves accordingly.
In the course of a weekend, the residents
made and individually named crowns and
tiaras (featuring union jacks and the obliga-
tory bling) and unleashed their creativity even
further by designing and making decorations
for the party.
Everyone joined in planning, designing and
making their creations, with staff and fellow
residents happily giving assistance to those
who needed help.
Staff working on each shift during the week-
end kept up the support and encouragement
so the exciting atmosphere was kept alive.
Special handbags were found for everyone
to complete the look and BCH’s Food Servic-
es provided a scrumptious lunch, including
a fabulous birthday cake. The staff ensured
plenty of happy snaps were taken of everyone
enjoying the day in their finery.
To keep the momentum of the birthday cel-
ebrations going, they then decided to create a
special birthday book containing their happy
snaps and personal birthday wishes and send
it to the Queen!
Each resident wrote a personal message
and those who were physically unable to do
this were assisted by their fellow residents.
Once the residents finished writing a front
and back page for the book and approved the
final copy, the book was sent off to Bucking-
BCH Diversional Therapist Suzie Hurry
said: “It was such a great team effort by all
the staff and residents – we all had a great
weekend! This was all about empowering the
residents and giving them something fun to
work on and enjoy. ”
Then came the unexpected arrival of a re -
sponse from Queen Elizabeth’s senior Lady-
in-Waiting Philippa de Pass on the Queen’s
The letter stated in part that, “ The Queen
was touched to hear of the celebration... ” and
thanked the residents for the “... lovely book
of messages and photographs... ” s ent to com-
memorate her birthday.
The letter has been framed and is now
proudly on display.
Unsurprisingly, there has been no shortage
of admirers since it went up.
Preparing your home and
family for bushfire season
SUMMER is definitely here. For most of us it
means beach trips and BBQs with friends.
It also brings much hotter weather and the
chance of bushfires.
Preparation for bushfire season should be
a year-round task, but if you haven’t started
yet, here are some tips to help as a guide and
remember it’s never too late to make prepara-
tions to protect your home and family.
1. Trees and plants provide fuel for fires. Re-
move the build up of dead branches, bark or
2. If you’re planting a garden, plant trees away
from the house so limbs and branches don’t
hang over your roof and drop leaves in gutters.
These can ignite quickly if burning embers fall
3. Clean leaves from your roof, gutters and
4. Remove all flammable material that is
within 20 metres of your property. This in-
cludes flammable liquids and newspapers or
cardboard that you have stockpiled for recy-
No-one wants to be impacted by a bushfire.
Often there is nothing that can be done to stop
damage, but if you follow the above small tips
you will have at least given your place every
chance of surviving if a bushfire is in your area.
All Australians should be removing any dead
and dry material around their property. People
should also trim low lying branches two metres
from the ground”.
There are also a number of items that can
help in a bushfire situation:
• During a bushfire, power and water may
be cut off and this often happens in advance.
A small power generator will allow your family
access to small appliances and allow laptops
and phones to continue to be charged.
• Portable battery radios allow people to lis-
ten to news updates
• Good quality torches and long life batteries
• Pack a bag with fresh clothes which can be
• Have a quality high-pressure fire fighting
pump to help with any small spot fires and to
water your garden/foliage on your property in
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