Easter water safety warning to Victorians

Authorities have warned Victorians to be careful around the water this Easter weekend.
Authorities have warned Victorians to be careful around the water this Easter weekend.

Forecast warm weather over the Easter break has Victorian authorities on high alert for possible drownings.

Forty-eight people have drowned in the state's waters since the start of July, making it the worst year on record.

During the same period, there have been 150 serious boating incidents, claiming the lives of 10 people.

Rock fishers also made up 15 per cent of fatal drownings, a six-fold increase on the 10-year average.

Boating and Fishing Minister Melissa Horne urged Victorians to stay safe on the water over the Easter long weekend.

"This thinking involves things like making sure you've got a life jacket and are wearing a life jacket when you're out on the water, because it's almost impossible to put a life jacket on if you get into trouble and you're in the water," she told reporters on Friday.

"It's making sure that people are aware of your plans before you go out in a boat or on a personal watercraft so that if you don't return home at the appropriate time, people can raise the alarm."

Ms Horne also encouraged people to download the Boating Vic and Vic Fishing apps so they are aware of conditions, as they can change rapidly.

Water Police Search and Rescue Inspector Greg Barras said the force has seen an increase in risk taking, speeding and people not wearing life jackets this summer.

He said water police will be patrolling key holiday spots including Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay and the majority of inland lakes across the state over the coming days.

"We'll be looking at those sorts of compliance issues, including operating vessels when you're drinking or potentially taking drugs, which is just not on," he said.

"Hopefully we'll see everybody who wants to enjoy our waterways go home at the end of Easter."

Life Saving Victoria's Paul Shannon said the risks around water don't stop when summer ends.

"We know that families will be bringing kids down to the water, having fun on boats and jet skis among other things to enjoy the last of the warm weather," he said.

"It's vital that you ensure you have the appropriate skills for your activity before going out on the water."

Victoria is expected to have a warm start to the Easter long weekend, with Melbourne forecast to reach 28C on Good Friday and 30C on Easter Saturday before a cool change early on Sunday morning.

"The average temperature for Easter weekend is around 21C so this 30C day that we're expecting in Melbourne this Saturday is above average," senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Miriam Bradbury said.

The warmest Easter Sunday on record for the state was 35C in 1940.

Australian Associated Press