Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has called on anyone heading to the beach this Australia Day to take care in the water and look out for their mates.
SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill ESM encouraged everyone to have fun on the beach over the long weekend, but said it was important that people don’t lose sight of their safety in the process.
“We obviously want people to have a great time on Australia Day, and there’s no better way to spend a long weekend than a trip to the beach, but we also want to make sure that everyone gets home safely,” he said.
The calls come after the state recorded one of its safest summer school holiday periods on record, with zero drownings on Queensland beaches between December 1 and the recommencement of school on 23 January.
During this time, SLSQ’s surf lifesavers and lifeguards watched over more than 7.3 million beachgoers and performed 1,016 rescues across the state.
In addition, they treated almost 15,000 first aid patients and performed 227,781 preventative actions to proactively protect swimmers in the water.
“We’re really proud of the efforts of our surf lifesavers and lifeguards over the school holidays. It’s great there were no drownings during the summer school holidays, and we want to keep it that way moving forward,” Mr Hill said.
“More than 7.3 million people went to the beach during the holidays, and to know that each one made it home safely is especially rewarding for our surf lifesavers and lifeguards.
“However, the job’s not done yet; Australia Day always attracts big crowds, and our lifesavers and lifeguards are bracing for another busy few days this weekend.”
More than 150,000 people flocked to Queensland beaches last Australia Day, with an incredible 59 rescues performed across the day.
Mr Hill urged beachgoers to help out this weekend by exercising caution and only swimming at patrolled locations.
“We want everyone to be safe this weekend, but we need your help,” he said.
“If you are heading to the beach, please swim only between the red and yellow flags, and remember to look after your mates so that everyone gets home safely.
“And we strongly urge anyone who’s had a few drinks to avoid swimming at the beach or in any pool or waterway for that matter – we can’t stress enough how dangerous it is to enter the water while under the influence.”
SLSQ renews Fraser Island warnings after second Irukandji capture
SLSQ is also encouraging anyone heading to Fraser Island to exercise caution in the water, after SLSQ stinger drags captured a second Irukandji (Carukia Barnesi) on the western side of the island on Saturday, 20 January.
Beachgoers are being urged to stay out of the water on the western side of the island while conditions remain hot and humid.
If anyone is stung on Fraser Island, they should douse the area with vinegar as soon as possible and immediately call triple zero to seek emergency medical help.
Stinger safety tips:
• Wear protective clothing (wet suit or Lycra body suit), to reduce exposure to potential stings;
• Protect your face and avoid putting your head underwater at high-risk locations;
• In the absence of a full Lycra suit, wear other protective clothing such as long pants tucked into socks;
• Enter water slowly as marine stingers will often swim away from people given the opportunity and time; and
• If you are planning a trip to Fraser Island take vinegar with you.
1. Remove casualty from the water if safe to do so
2. Treat using DRSABCD first aid method
3. Call for help – dial triple zero (000) for medical assistance
4. Promptly administer CPR if required
5. Treat the sting – douse the area liberally with vinegar for at least 30 seconds
6. Monitor the casualty and seek further medical assistance if available.