Don't booze and beach, plead lifesavers
SURF Life Saving Queensland is pleading with beachgoers to swim sober and stick to the flagged areas when they hit the water this Australia Day.
In years gone by, surf lifesavers have often been kept busy on Australia Day responding to incidents involving intoxicated swimmers, and SLSQ regional operations manager Craig Holden said enough was enough.
"The majority of swimmers and beachgoers on Australia Day are really well behaved, but unfortunately each year we still see some people enter the water while intoxicated and, more often than not, that leads to trouble,” he said.
"What's most disappointing is that those people aren't only risking their own lives, they're also potentially putting our volunteer members and lifeguards into a dangerous situation as well.
"We know that people will be out to have a good time on Australia Day and we don't want to stop that - all we're asking is for people to hit the beach and get their swimming out of the way before they hit the drinks.”
Historically, Australia Day has been one of the busiest days of the year for surf lifesavers and lifeguards on patrol, as large crowds flock to the beach to beat the heat and make the most of the public holiday.
Last year, SLSQ's surf lifesavers and lifeguards across the state performed 6202 preventative actions to safeguard swimmers, treated 136 injured people and, most importantly, successfully performed 63 rescued across the day.
Mr Holden said surf lifesavers and lifeguards would be working hard make sure beachgoers made it home safely.
"The beach is a great place to spend Australia Day, but we're simply asking for swimmers to look after themselves and each other,” he said.
"We want all beachgoers to have fun, get home safely, and remember their Australia Day for all the right reasons this year.”
Mr Holden also urged swimmers to be cautious and protect themselves against stingers and jellyfish, following a recent influx in bluebottles and a number of serious stings around Fraser Island in recent months.
"The most important thing is for people to swim only at patrolled locations and between the red and yellow flags, where trained lifesavers and lifeguards will always be on hand to assist in the event you get stung by something,” he said.
"And if you are heading to Fraser Island, be extra cautious in and around the water and particularly on that western side of the island where a number of serious stings have occurred over the past few months.”
- Always swim at patrolled beaches and only between the red and yellow flags.
- Look for and follow the advice on safety signs.
- If you're unsure about the conditions, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard on duty before entering the water.
- Always swim with a friend where possible and keep an eye on each other.
- If you find yourself in trouble, put your hand up for help.
- Always supervise young children in and around the water.
- Never swim at night or at unpatrolled locations.