Volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards had a busy Easter long weekend, saving the lives of 236 beachgoers across the state – 80 per cent of which were swimming outside the red and yellow flags.
With deceptively powerful surf conditions forecast across the South East until Wednesday (19 April), SLSQ operations coordinator Jason Argent said it remains important for beachgoers and boat operators to stay vigilant about their personal safety.
“We saw a high number of rescues of swimmers, and were made aware of 8 boat roll-overs, across the weekend due to low winds and high swells, with waves gaining powerful energy during lulls,” Mr Argent 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,” he said.
Mr Argent also called on beachgoers to make surf safety a family affair during the final week of NSW school holidays, urging parents to keep a close eye on their young children in and around the water.
Over the Easter long weekend, SLSQ’s lifesavers and lifeguards across Queensland rescued 52 children aged 13 years or under, and an additional 44 swimmers aged between 14 and 18 were 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,” 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.”
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.
From Good Friday to Easter Monday, there were 540,718 people on Queensland’s patrolled beaches, with lifeguards and lifesavers performing 65,653 preventative actions and 483 first aid treatments.
“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,” Mr Argent said.
Simple guidelines to help stay safe on the beach:
– 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