Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) will significantly boost its aerial patrol services across the Gold Coast and South Tweed region following recent shark sightings in northern New South Wales.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service (WLRHS) is already scheduled to perform a daily patrol service across the school holiday period; however, this will double, with SLSQ adding a second daily patrol in a bid to offer increased protection to swimmers and surfers.
The aerial patrols will cover an area from South Stradbroke Island through to Kingscliff just south of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.
SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill said the decision to bolster services had been made in the interest of public safety.
“Gold Coast beaches will still be patrolled as usual, and the additional helicopter services will offer an increased element of protection for both swimmers and lifeguards alike,” Mr Hill said.
While Mr Hill said the chances of a shark attack in Queensland were relatively low, he urged swimmers to be extra vigilant in the coming weeks when it came to their own personal safety.
“As always, we strongly encourage anyone looking to head to the beach to only swim at patrolled locations and between the red and yellow flags,” he said.
“The red and yellow flags indicate the safest place to swim, with trained lifeguards on hand to assist if needed.
“Always swim with a friend, and never enter the water at dawn or dusk as this is when sharks are most active and tend to feed,” he said.
Mr Hill encouraged swimmers to adhere to the following safety guidelines to protect themselves while in the water:
- Always swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags
- Pay attention to beach signage
- Don’t swim in canals, river mouths or deep channels
- Never swim at dawn, dusk or at night
- Never swim in murky waters
- Never swim where schools of fish have recently been sighted
- Never swim in areas where fish scraps have been discarded
- Always swim with a friend
- Avoid swimming with dogs or other animals
- Don’t swim when bleeding
- Don’t swim near, or interfere with, shark control equipment
- Leave the water immediately if a shark is sighted
- If you are unfamiliar with the area, seek advice before entering the water