Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is renewing calls for beachgoers to put safety first this Easter, following the death of an elderly woman at an unpatrolled stretch of beach on the Sunshine Coast yesterday evening.
SLSQ operations coordinator Jason Argent said it was a tragic reminder about the importance of swimming only at patrolled locations.
“On behalf of Surf Life Saving Queensland, I’d like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victim’s family and friends,” Mr Argent said.
“Unfortunately it’s a tragic and heartbreaking reminder about the importance of putting safety first at all times when you’re in and around the water.
“We can’t stress enough how important it is to only enter the surf at patrolled locations and during designated patrol times. This not only ensures that lifesavers and lifeguards are on-hand to help if you get into trouble, but it also means they can provide immediate emergency care and treatment if needed,” he said.
Traditionally, the Easter holidays are one of the busiest periods of the year for lifesavers and lifeguards, as families look to make the most of the warmer weather before winter sets in.
With challenging coastal conditions forecast across the South East this weekend, Mr Argent said it was even more important for people to remain vigilant about their personal safety.
“We obviously want people to enjoy themselves out on the beach and have an Easter they’ll remember for all the right reasons,” he said.
“Even if the water looks calm on the surface, the ocean can be a dangerous and unpredictable place at times, and conditions can change drastically within minutes.”
Mr Argent also called on beachgoers to make surf safety a family affair this Easter, urging parents to keep a close eye on their young children in and around the water.
Since September last year, SLSQ’s lifesavers and lifeguards across Queensland have rescued 624 beachgoers aged 13 years or under, and an additional 290 swimmers aged between 14 and 18 have also been plucked to safety.
“Unfortunately we’re continuing to see some situations where parents will drop their kids off at the beach and then drive off and leave them alone for a few hours, which is a recipe for disaster,” Mr Argent said.
“We know there’ll be a lot of families out enjoying the Easter break and we’re calling on all parents to not only set an example by swimming between the red and yellow flags, but to also hang around to supervise any of their young children in the water as well,” he said.
SLSQ will be rolling out extended jet ski and helicopter patrols over the peak Easter period, while surf lifesavers remain on standby around the clock to assist with any after-hours emergency situations.
Meanwhile, SLSQ’s dusk patrols at Surfers Paradise will return over the Easter long weekend, with lifesavers stationed at the identified blackspot from 5:30pm through to 10pm each night from 13-16 April.
Stay safe on the beach this Easter:
– Swim between the red and yellow flags
– Look for, and follow, the advice of safety signs
– Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for advice
– Always swim with a friend where possible
– If you find yourself in trouble, don’t panic. Stick your hand up for help.
– Don’t swim at unpatrolled beaches
– Don’t swim at night or after consuming alcohol.