Queensland surf lifesavers have asked nicely, and now they’re pleading, for beachgoers to swim at patrolled spots this summer following a spike of rescues outside the flags in recent weeks.
Since the start of summer, Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) lifesavers and lifeguards have combined to rescue 421 people across the state and, staggeringly, 340 of these have occurred outside of the red and yellow flags.
SLSQ operations coordinator Jason Argent said lifesavers were growing sick and tired of putting their own lives on the line to rescue beachgoers who continued to ignore warnings and swim outside of the flags.
“Every time our lifesavers or lifeguards are required to check on, or rescue, someone outside of the flags, it’s takes valuable manpower and resources away from protecting those people who are doing the right thing and swimming in the patrolled area,” he said.
“Our members are putting themselves in possible harm’s way every time they enter the water to rescue someone, and that risk is magnified when they have to venture away from the flagged areas.
“Those 340 people who were rescued outside of the flags are extremely lucky that they were spotted and rescued,” he said.
More than seven million people have flocked to one of SLSQ’s patrolled beaches on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast this summer and, with searing heat set to continue over the coming days, lifesavers are bracing for more big crowds this weekend.
With that in mind, Mr Argent said it was vital for parents to keep a close eye on their children, noting that 79 children under the age of ten had already been rescued by lifesavers and lifeguards since the start of summer.
“We’re imploring parents to keep their children within arm’s reach at all times,” he said.
“The ocean can be a dangerous place at times and conditions can be unpredictable – even if it looks calm on the surface, there might be rips, gutters or fast-moving currents that you haven’t noticed.
“We want all families to make the most of the remaining school holidays and enjoy their time on the beach but, more importantly, we want to them to get home safely,” he said.
Conditions this weekend
Sunshine Coast – Northerly winds expected that means bluebottles are too, a small swell is expected but don’t become complacent. Look at the warnings that lifeguards and lifesavers display, conditions change, heed their advice to best enjoy your day at the beach.
Gold Coast – Northerly winds expected that means bluebottles are too, a small swell is expected but don’t become complacent. Look at the warnings that lifeguards and lifesavers display, conditions change, heed their advice to best enjoy your day at the beach.