PM pays tribute to late surf lifesavers

Kathryn Bermingham

Scott Morrison has paid tribute to a father and son who drowned while saving a tourist off the Victorian coast and urged Australians to follow the instructions of surf lifesavers on beaches this summer.

Ross and Andrew Powell, both members of the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club, died in April after their boat flipped while they were rescuing a 30-year-old man near the Twelve Apostles.

"They lost their lives in rough surf trying to save someone ... and we remember them today for their incredible bravery and sacrifice," the prime minister said in Canberra on Monday at an event to promote Surf Life Saving Australia.

Australian surf lifesavers performed 5,561 rescues in the 2018-19 season and 354,000 preventative actions.

Mr Morrison urged anyone planning a trip to the coast to swim between the red and yellow flags and listen to beach patrols.

"They're there for you, to keep you safe and so you do your job by keeping them safe, by following their instructions," he said.

The Parliament House event also recognised winners of the rescue of the month award, including Bradley Dawson and Toby Streamer from Kiama in NSW.

In August, the pair rescued a rock fisherman who fell into the water when his rod became jammed.

"We knew that there was large, dangerous surf but we knew we also just had to be cool, calm and collected or else we'd put ourselves in danger," Mr Dawson said.

"We got that notification that someone was in there for over an hour with those surf conditions we thought it was pretty dire, but luckily he was wearing a life jacket so everything went according to plan.

"He was exhausted but as soon as we got him on the boat it was just so thankful and happy just to be out of the water."