Beachgoers to Warrnambool's Lady Bay can swim more safely over summer thanks to a new partnership between Life Saving Victoria and Warrnambool City Council.
For the first time ever, the beach will be patrolled for all three months of summer, which started on November 28 and will run until the end of February.
Western lifeguard co-ordinator Michael Owen said in past years patrols ran from Boxing Day to Australia Day and last year's season was extended until the end of February.
This year's has been further extended with patrols beginning in late November when swimmer numbers increased.
Mr Owen said it was great to have council's support and it understood the value of having the beach patrolled.
He said there were similar initiatives at other Victorian beaches where councils or land managers and LSV shared the cost of the service.
"We didn't really have a patrolled beach during the week when summer started so that was one of the arguments that we had," Mr Owen said.
"We needed to have one of our (four main regional) beaches available for people to go to a patrolled area.
"Warrnambool is the obvious choice because of the population and there's a lot of secondary schools that are down there in December and school camps that are on in Warrnambool."
He said the 22 lifeguards from Warrnambool, Port Campbell, Port Fairy and Narrawong were rostered to work across the four beaches. The region's other beach patrols begin on Boxing Day and run until Australia Day.
Employed by LSV, the lifeguards hold advanced awards including first aid certificates, advanced resuscitation and beach management qualifications.
"Most of them would be captains and vice captains of their own patrols," Mr Owen said.
"They still do voluntary patrols on weekends as well. They would be the higher level life savers within their clubs.
"We do a lot of first aid stuff as well. People think we're there to do rescue work but we're also the place to go if they're on the beach and need first aid."
He said volunteer lifeguards would continue to patrol the beach each Saturday afternoon and Sunday and the area would soon be filled with people.
"As soon as the campers get here for Boxing Day the numbers will increase pretty sharply."
Warrnambool City Council chief executive Peter Schneider said it had subsidised the "great work" of the club for many years.
Mr Schneider said it provided an amazing service and the patrolled beach at Warrnambool was a "great attraction and reassurance for residents and visitors".
"There is no doubt that the preventative, first aid and rescues undertaken by club volunteers over the years have saved lives," Mr Schneider said.
In the 2020/21 season, Warrnambool lifesavers conducted almost 2200 preventative actions and 59 first aid responses. They rescued one person with 34,000 people attending the beach.
In 2019/20 there were 303 preventative actions, 87 first aid responses and two people rescued, while more than 23,700 people visited.
Mr Schneider said the LSV statistics highlighted the beach was "busier than ever" and more preventative actions were being taken.
The Warrnambool beach is patrolled daily from 10am to 6pm.
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