Break down barriers to access to the beach

By on December 7, 2021 0


Our free program aims to remove the barriers preventing people with disabilities from enjoying a day at the beach and has been strongly supported by the Port Melbourne and St Kilda Rescue Clubs and Life Saving Victoria since 2017.

Paul Mapley, executive committee member of the Port Melbourne Life Saving Club, said club volunteers are often touched by the happiness the program brings to residents and visitors.

“When you see someone in a wheelchair enjoying the water, sometimes for the first time in their life, you can get a little wet behind your sunglasses,” Paul said.

The mat provided even wider access than expected as it is proving popular with older people, including some who do not use mobility aids, and parents who can bring their strollers with them when they get off. on the shore to keep an eye on their children.

“A man told me he hasn’t been able to go to the water’s edge for years and now he loves going with his grandchildren,” he said.

“There is a real sense of inclusion that has made our beach a destination of choice for everyone. “

Wheelchairs and mats are used in the flag area patrolled by lifeguards. Club volunteers are on hand to teach caregivers how to use the wheelchairs if this is their first dive.

Beach access program (November 2021 to April 2022)

Accessible beach mats

Available daily except Tuesday 4:30 am-10:30am when beach cleaning is in progress. No reservations required.

Mobi-Chair beach chairs

St Kilda Rescue Club

Location: 34, boulevard Jacka, St Kilda

Available: Saturday and Sunday during patrol hours, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., reservation limit of one and a half hours

Reservations essential: visit or call 03 9209 6777

Port Melbourne Lifesaving Club

Location: 38 Beaconsfield Parade, Port Melbourne

Available: Monday to Sunday during patrol hours, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., reservation limit of 1.5 hours

Weekend reservations are essential: visit or by phone on 03 9209 6777

Midweek reservations: call day 9646 8773 (patrol tour) or book in advance via

Change location

The St Kilda Rescue Club includes a Victorian government funded Change Places facility. This facility has a height adjustable adult changing table, a follower lift system and space for two people in a safe and clean environment.

An individual or caregiver wishing to use the St Kilda facility must have a Master Locksmith Access Key (MLAK) which provides 24/7 access for people with disabilities. Eligibility is limited to those who have written permission from a physician, disability organization, or community health center. To purchase an MLAK, contact the Master Locksmiths Association at 1 800 819 775.