While Gold Coast beaches remain closed, lifeguards are set to re-open the majority of Sunshine Coast beaches today but Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is pleading with beachgoers to remain vigilant with large and powerful surf conditions expected to continue across the coming days.
SLSQ Sunshine Coast manager Aaron Purchase urged anyone heading to the beach for a swim or a look at the conditions to be extra cautious about their personal safety in and around the water.
“Lifeguards will be assessing each beach on a case-by-case basis but, at this stage, we’re expecting the majority of them to be re-opened across the day,” he said.
“However, having said that, conditions will be challenging as the fallout from Tropical Cyclone Debbie continues and we’re urging everyone to be extra cautious in the interests of public safety,” he said.
Mr Purchase said SLSQ would be closely monitoring conditions over the next 24 hours leading into the weekend and, if needed, wouldn’t hesitate to close beaches once again.
“It’s really important to remember that we don’t just close beaches on a whim,” he said.
“If a beach is closed it’s because lifeguards or lifesavers have deemed the conditions too dangerous, and allowing members of the public into the water would put their lives at considerable risk.
“We’re urging all beachgoers to please respect and adhere to instructions from lifesavers and lifeguards and always remember that they have your safety and best interests in mind.
“As always, the best way to protect yourself is to only swim at patrolled locations and during the designated patrol times.”
SLSQ is also appealing for people to steer clear of river mouths and estuaries following the heavy rainfall.
The deluge flushed large amounts of dirt and debris into the water, making it an ideal playground for bull sharks and other hidden dangers.
Mr Purchase said the murky water made it even harder for swimmers to predict the conditions.
“With all the rain we’ve seen lots of dirt, tree logs, and branches become dislodged creating a haven for fish, which in turn can attract sharks,” he said.
“Bull sharks thrive in muddy environments because they know that’s where smaller fish will be feeding.
“Swimmers should also be aware that other hazards may have washed into the water after heavy rain like rubbish, tree branches and rocks.
“These dangers on top of the already strong currents make a recipe for disaster.”
SLSQ encourages beachgoers to follow these simple steps to help stay safe in the water:
– Only swim at patrolled beaches and between the red and yellow flags
– Don’t swim at night or after drinking alcohol
– Look for and follow the advice of safety signs
– Listen to the emergency warnings and follow the advice of emergency services and your local councils
– Avoid floodwaters and swollen river mouths
– Be careful of debris and other hazards that may have washed into the surf after heavy rainfall, such as rubbish, tree branches and rocks