HUNDREDS of kilometres from the waves of Victoria's coastline, an unlikely bunch strap on Australian life saving's red and yellow caps.
Mildura Life Saving Club guards on the banks of the Murray may never see a dorsal fin slice the water's surface, but swimming serpents can send a shockwave of fear through the teeming river.
Club president Greg Rhodes said the life savers, believed to be Australia's only inland club, faced a different set of challenges.
"We have a shark alarm as instructed by Life Saving Victoria but we don't anticipate ever having to use that,'' Mr Rhodes said.
"Snakes certainly are a problem. We've had a couple in recent years. One was in the girls' changerooms. The other was swimming in the river.''
Mr Rhodes said out-of-towners were often amazed to find a life saving club in the heart of the Mallee.
Up to 500 beachgoers crowd Apex Park on hot summer days, filling the waterway with paddle steamers, houseboats, wake boarders and swimmers.
The club's first lot of nippers take to the sand next month, while members are lobbying local businesses for an ATV to patrol the banks.
Mr Rhodes said the river was full of hidden dangers, including a strong current.