Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has called on beachgoers to put safety first and swim only between the red and yellow flags this Easter holiday period.
Nine people have drowned on Queensland beaches since the start of July last year, and lifeguards and lifesavers are asking for a helping hand over the holiday period to ensure that figure remains a single digit.
SLSQ lifesaving services coordinator Nathan Fife encouraged all beachgoers to take a moment to contemplate their safety before entering the water this Easter. “We’ve seen nine drownings on Queensland beaches in the past nine months and, of those, five have been in the past two months alone,” Mr Fife said.
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“It’s a tragedy, and the saddest part is that all of these drownings occurred at unpatrolled locations or outside of patrol times. We can’t stress enough how important it is to only enter the surf when there is a lifeguard or lifesaver on duty, which is signified by the red and yellow flags. It’s a tragedy to think that all nine drownings could have been avoided if those people had been swimming at a patrolled location,” he said.
Lifesavers and lifeguards will be out in force across the Easter holiday period, and SLSQ has boosted its services to offer even greater protection to beachgoers.
The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service will perform daily aerial patrols, while surf lifesavers will be conducting mid-week and roving patrols on the Gold Coast.
Additionally, SLSQ will continue to conduct its dawn patrol service at Surfers Paradise, with lifesavers also on standby 24/7 to assist with any after-hours or emergency situations.
Mr Fife urged swimmers to take note of safety signs and heed the advice of lifeguards and lifesavers on duty. “Easter’s normally a really busy time on the beach, with plenty of people looking to make the most of the warmer weather while it lasts,” he said.
“Obviously we want people to have fun and enjoy themselves on the beach, but it’s important they don’t get complacent about their safety in the process. Just one lapse of judgement could have fatal consequences and, at the end of the day, it’s simply not worth the risk when it comes to your personal safety. Always remember, if lifesavers can’t see you they can’t save you,” he said.
Mr Fife encouraged beach visitors to follow these simple guidelines to help protect themselves this Easter:
– Swim between the red and yellow flags
– Look for, and follow, the advice of safety signs
– Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for advice
– Always swim with a friend where possible
– If you find yourself in trouble, don’t panic. Stick your hand up for help.
– Don’t swim at unpatrolled beaches
– Don’t swim at night or after consuming alcohol