A Victorian town is in mourning after losing two of its well-regarded surf lifesaving volunteers, a father and son who died trying to rescue a tourist from treacherous swells.

Dairy farmers Ross Powell, 71, and his son Andy Powell, 32, have been remembered as heroes after their rescue boat flipped in two-metre swell on Sunday morning.

They had been on a rescue mission for a 30-year-old male tourist who had been wading in dangerous waters at the mouth of the Sherbrook River.

The tourist and a third rescuer were winched from the water and transported to hospital, but the Powells died at the scene.

Corangamite Mayor Neil Trotter - who has known Ross all his life and Andy "since he was a baby" - said the tight-knit Port Campbell community was "shattered".

With a population of only a few hundred residents, Cr Trotter said: "everyone in the community knows each other".

"It's a bit surreal and it will take time for them to come to terms with it because everyone in the community knew them, especially in the surf club community," he told AAP.