THERE’S nothing like spending Christmas at the beach.
However Ambos and Lifesavers are reminding holidaymakers to think before they swim this festive season.
Check the conditions, swim between the flags and take note of your holiday address – are just a few of the water safety messages QAS and Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) are spreading this festive season.
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QAS Advanced Care Paramedic Kylie Lee said some people were more confident around water than others, but everyone should look out for their family and friends, especially during this busy holiday period.
“During our Christmas period last year QAS attended 111 drowning-related incidents across the state and these also included diving and scuba incidents,” Mrs Lee said.
“Gold Coast has the highest rate in the state for these incidents with 39 cases last summer holiday period.
“We don’t want to see a repeat of this.”
Mrs Lee stressed the importance of beach-goers knowing their exact location, especially in areas not monitored by lifeguards.
She encouraged people to download the free Emergency+ app to their smartphones.
“This app can help determine your GPS coordinates to pass onto emergency services if an incident occurs,” Mrs Lee said.
“Knowing your location allows the call taker to dispatch paramedics to you quickly, which can potentially save a life,” she said.
“Always take note of street names, landmarks and beach access numbers when walking onto the beach.”
SLSQ CEO John Brennan has urged beachgoers to put safety first and exercise some “common sense” in the water this Christmas.
“Obviously Christmas is a time to celebrate and unwind and there’s no better place to beat the heat than the beach, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to put safety first and consider the consequences of your actions,” he said.
“We realise beaches may be crowded but I urge all beachgoers to make the effort to swim between the red and yellow flags, even if it means walking a short distance to get there. The flagged areas are not only the safest spots to swim, but they are also patrolled by qualified surf lifesavers and lifeguards.
“At the end of the day, we want swimmers to enjoy the beach this Christmas and have a holiday they will remember for all the right reasons. We don’t want a situation where one moment of carelessness results in tragedy,” he said.
Mrs Lee said some people may not be unaware of the dangers the water poses to adults and children.
“You need to stay safe around the water no matter where it is. This includes beaches, pools, creeks, dams and even the bath tub,” she said.
Mrs Lee said it was also critical to keep an eye on children in rural and remote areas as they could wander off.