REGION - A local surf lifesaver has warned that coastal rocks are "no place for bravado", after two men narrowly avoided being swept off rocks in Port Elliot last week.
Safety along local beaches has been swept back into the spotlight after the pair were photographed scrambling for secure footing after being knocked over by a rogue wave on the rocks at Knights Beach on Friday, June 27.
Goolwa's Mick Windibank witnessed the incident, and took photos of what he said were two young men on the rocks.
"This is why people are getting in trouble at our beaches; ignoring signage and not respecting the ocean in general," he said.
"Lucky boys I reckon."
Port Elliot Surf Lifesaving Club (PESLC) secretary Marty Smee said the rocks from Port Elliot to Knights Beach are dangerous places to be.
You find it hard to outrun waves; especially on rounded, smooth rocks.Port Elliot Surf Lifesaving Club secretary, Marty Smee
According to Mr Smee, millions of years of weathering has worn them smooth and slippery when wet, while algae growing on them further reduces grip.
"The waves are also unpredictable and come in fast," he said.
"You find it hard to outrun waves; especially on rounded, smooth rocks."
Mr Smee said there have been deaths in the area, although decades ago, and recalled at least two incidents in the last few years when PESLC members were required to save people swept off rocks in Green Bay, between Horseshoe Bay and Knights Beach.
"One of those was life and death, and skilful work on behalf of an IRB (inflatable rescue boat)?crew saved a young man," he said.
"Other people have received severe abrasions."
South Coast State Emergency Service (SES) unit manager Fred Brehin estimated that SES volunteers had been called to assist in about 25 incidents along the coast, between Middleton and Deep Creek, in the past 15 to 20 years.
Mr Smee said this type of incident occurs at least once a year, and recalled a similar situation at Granite Island in October 2013.
At that time, a man nearly drowned after being swept off the island's rocks, and was rescued by a human chain, clinging to one another.
"The incident at Granite Island saw other people having to put their lives at risk to save the person in the water - this is an added unwanted dimension," he said.
Local surf lifesavers are in recess during winter months and do not have patrols, resulting in a longer call out time.
Mr Smee said people can drown, be knocked unconscious, receive lacerations or break bones in a matter of minutes.
"With the holidays looming and visitors coming down here there is a problem because many may not have experienced the ferocity of the local conditions," he said.
"We in the lifesaving community hold our breaths when these huge seas come through on weekends and holidays.
"Common sense must prevail and it is no place for bravado."
Alexandrina Council erected safety signage at Knights Beach in 2009, as part of a risk assessment project encompassing beaches in the council area.
The signage warns against strong currents and slippery rocks, and recommends beach users beware of large waves and falling rocks.
A spokesperson said the signs are checked regularly as part of council's inspections of coastal infrastructure.