Swimmers urged to take advice during marine stinger season
Surf Life Saving Queensland is encouraging beachgoers in the north of the state to stay safe this marine stinger season by taking the advice of surf lifesavers and lifeguards.
From November to May, several species of marine stingers can be found in the waters of Queensland beaches from Bustard Heads (north of Bundaberg) to Port Douglas and further north.
These include the box jellyfish and irukandji which are classed as dangerous tropical marine stingers.
From next week, marine stinger swimming enclosures will begin to be installed at around 30 locations in the north of the state including Port Douglas, Ellis Beach, Palm Cove, Clifton Beach, Kewarra Beach, Trinity Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Bramston Beach, Etty Bay, North Mission Beach, South Mission Beach, Forrest Beach, Balgal Beach, Pallarenda Beach, The Strand, Strand South, Picnic Bay and Holloways Beach.
Swimming is only advised within stinger swimming enclosures. Eimeo, Sarina and Mackay Harbour Beach can’t install marine stinger enclosures due to extreme tides. Alva Beach (Ayr) and Alma Bay (Arcadia) also so not have nets.
It is recommended that beachgoers always wear a full body stinger suit when in the ocean during stinger season, swim between the flags at patrolled beaches and where possible, in a swimming enclosure. Swimmers should always stay off the nets so they can remain effective.
“It really is important that anyone wanting to enter the ocean at this time of year protects themselves with a stinger suit,” said Jen Rees, SLSQ Regional Operations Manager, North Queensland. “If you’re covered up, and inside a marine stinger swimming enclosure, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of avoiding a painful sting.”
SLSQ lifeguards and surf lifesavers also undertake regular stinger drags in and around patrol areas.
“The nets can never be 100 percent stinger-proof, so our surf lifesavers and lifeguards will conduct regular drags in and around the enclosures,” said Rees. “If dangerous stingers re found, the beach will be immediately closed.
“Any swimmers who are stung should immediately notify the lifeguards or lifesavers on duty.”
TIPS FOR SAFER SWIMMING IN NORTH QUEENSLAND WATERS
- Only ever swim at patrolled locations with marine stinger swimming enclosures
- Always keep off the stinger need, as pushing it below the water surface compromises its efficacy
- Wear a full-body lycra suit to provide a good measure of protection against marine stings
- Look for, and observe, warning signs.
- Never enter the water when a beach has been closed.
- Don’t touch marine stingers washed up on the beach – they can still sting you