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Two Mackay beaches closed after stinger captures

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has closed Harbour Beach and Sarina Beach on Thursday, 22 December, after box jellyfish were caught by lifeguards in their regular stinger drags.

Lifeguards will conduct stinger drags at both beaches on Friday morning (23 December) before determining whether they will be reopened to the public.

SLSQ regional manager Jenny Neal said it was a warning for all swimmers to be extra vigilant about their safety in the water this Christmas.

“There’s been a bit of rain recently and, generally speaking, after that occurs there’s usually an influx in box jellyfish sightings,” she said.

“These captures provide us all with a reminder and warning to be careful in the water this Christmas and always put safety first,” she said.

Ms Neal said there were a few basic safety precautions that every beachgoer should follow to help protect themselves against marine stingers.

“It’s really important that beachgoers are only ever swimming at patrolled locations and between the red and yellow flags,” she said.

“In addition, we strongly urge anyone entering the water to wear protective clothing such as a wetsuit, lycra body suit, or even a long-sleeved shirt and pants.

“Lifeguards perform daily stinger drags in and around patrolled locations, and will close a beach in the interests of safety if any dangerous jellyfish are captured. If that’s the case, it’s really important that all beachgoers respect this decision and steer clear of the water.

“If you’re ever unsure about stingers in the water, have a chat to the lifesavers or lifeguards on duty for some safety advice before going for a swim,” she said.

Stinger safety tips:

  • Always swim at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags;
  • Don’t enter the water when beaches are closed;
  • Don’t touch marine stingers washed up on the beach, they can still sting you;
  • It is recommended that a full-body lycra suit, or equivalent, be worn to provide a good measure of protection against marine stings, particularly during the stinger season. A long-sleeved shirt and pants is also a good option if a wetsuit isn’t available; and
  • Don’t dive face-first into the water. Rather, walk in and enter slowly (Chironex Box Jellyfish will often swim away from people given the opportunity and time).

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