Sandbar warnings

R to L - Nick Slattery (Binoculars) & Joe Ford
R to L - Nick Slattery (Binoculars) & Joe Ford

Over the Christmas break, 19 people were rescued along the 800m stretch between the mainland and Penguin Island ” one of Perth’s most popular tourism attactions.

In December 2010, two men drowned as they attempted to return to the mainland across the sandbar.

Lifesaver Joe Ford told the Courier that people were travelling to and from the island and forgetting to read the wind forecasts.

He urged people to take advantage of the frequent ferry service.

He said about 50 per cent of people rescued were tourists to the area, but locals still got into trouble on the treacherous crossing.

‘As soon as the wind kicks in around lunchtime, it’s extremely dangerous for people to be walking back along the sandbar,’ he said. ‘Once the wind and the tide combine it makes it difficult for people to cross by foot, and many find themselves having to swim ” and it is a long distance.

‘I would encourage everyone travelling to the island to catch the ferry because it is the safest option.’

The Australian Life Guard Service helps to patrol the beach from December 16 until the end of January.

Lifesavers are on patrol seven days a week, between the hours of 10am and 5pm.