BACK @ THE BACK BEACH, VOL.1

This is the earliest report of volunteer patrolling service at the Portsea Back Beach. The following article, sourced from the Life Saving Victoria history “50 Years and More” describes a rescue performed by volunteers who manned the beach over 10 years before our club was officially formed in 1949.


Portsea – 1937. 

On Thursday, 30th December, four bathers who were in danger of being swept out to sea, were rescued by a volunteer beach patrol who staged a most dramatic rescue. 

Mr S. Palmer, captain of the patrol, brought two men to shore and, although exhausted, attempted to bring a third man. More than 300 bathers were surfing in a sea swollen by a strong southerly. The patrol, which was composed of members of bayside life-saving clubs who were spending their holidays at Portsea, noticed that some of the bathers were drifting towards Point Nepean. It was thought that they were seeking less crowded water; but, when cries for help were heard, members of the reel team, with Mr Palmer in the belt, went to the rescue. 

After struggling through the strong surf Mr Palmer brought a Mr Miller to the beach. Almost immediately the alarm was again sounded and, after a 200-yard swim, Mr Palmer brought a Mr Mcllroy to the shore. The two men, suffering severely from the effects of the immersion, were immediately treated by a doctor who was present. 

While these men were being revived the alarm was again sounded and two other bathers were seen to be in difficulties. Mr Palmer again took the belt but was too exhausted to reach the patients who were brought ashore by other members of the patrol. 
Earlier in the day four other surfers were brought ashore at Sorrento, one girl having to be treated by a doctor.” 
 
Ian Campbell
Portsea SLSC Historian