AS the summer school holidays officially kick off this weekend, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is boosting its services on the Gold Coast and renewing calls for beachgoers to put safety first.
From this Saturday, SLSQ’s volunteer surf lifesavers will increase their regular patrol hours on the Gold Coast to cope with an anticipated influx in beachgoers over the holiday period.
Red and yellow flags will be raised from 7:00am to 6:00pm at most beaches each weekend and public holiday through to Australia Day.
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In addition, additional roving jet ski patrols will also be introduced on weekdays to monitor key locations and identified blackspots across the Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, lifeguards will resume seven-day patrols at Paradise Point and the Broadwater, along with weekday patrols at Tallebudgera Creek.
SLSQ’s daily dawn patrol, operating each day from 4:30am through to 8am, will continue to provide a vital service protecting early-morning beachgoers while its 24/7 emergency response groups will also be on call to assist around the clock.
SLSQ lifesaving services coordinator Nathan Fife urged beachgoers to take extra care in and around the water over the summer months.
“Beaches are obviously going to be getting busier and busier as the holidays get into full swing over the coming weeks, but it’s still really important that people make the effort to only swim at patrolled locations and between the red and yellow flags,” he said.
“We want people to enjoy the beach these holidays but, more importantly, we want them to get home safely at the end of the day.
“If you’re unsure about the conditions, have a chat to lifeguards or lifesavers on duty before entering the water,” he said.
Mr Fife also called on parents to make surf safety a family affair this summer, saying lifesavers were continuing to see a worrying number of unsupervised children being left alone on Gold Coast Beaches.
“Unfortunately, we’re continuing to see a lot of situations where parents will drop their young kids off at the beach for the day and then drive off and leave them to their own devices, which is nothing but a recipe for disaster,” Mr Fife said.
“Surf lifesavers and lifeguards will be out in force this summer to watch over and protect swimmers in the flagged areas, and we really encourage all parents and family members to adopt the same approach and look out for each other, particularly when it comes to young children.
“Even if it looks calm on the surface, the ocean can be a dangerous and unpredictable place at times, and having an extra set of eyes could make all the difference.
“It’s really important that parents not only set a good example for their kids by swimming between the red and yellow flags this summer, but also hang around and supervise any of their young children both in and out of the water,” he said.