Volunteer lifesavers have returned to North Queensland beaches, with the 2022/23 patrol season officially underway in time for the September school holidays.
With plenty of visitors expected this spring break, Surf Life Saving Queensland is reminding beachgoers to only swim at patrolled beaches and always between the red and yellow flags.
The reminder comes after twelve of the thirteen people who tragically drowned at a Queensland beach during the 2021/22 patrol season were swimming outside of a patrolled area or time.
Last year, SLSQ lifesavers and lifeguards in the North Barrier region, which stretches from Sarina north to Ingham, performed 42 rescues, with 23 of them being children under the age of twelve years.
The North Barrier region faces a variety of challenges with regards to beach safety, from marine stingers to remote to isolated beaches.
In 2021/22, there were 18 Irukandji stings across North Queensland which is a 200 percent increase on the previous year.
North Barrier regional manager Jennifer Rees is encouraging locals to join the iconic organisation and help save lives this summer.
“As the weather heats up and we welcome more visitors to our region, we would also welcome any locals wanting to get involved with surf lifesaving to get in touch with us as we could definitely use the help to keep beachgoers safe.
“The patrol season is just starting so it is a great time to sign up and get involved. We provide all necessary training and you will get to experience an organisation like no other.”
“Our lifesavers and lifeguards are committed to keeping the community safe and providing a valuable community service but we need your help.
“That could be simply following the directions of the lifesavers at the beach, becoming a member yourself or even donating to a club to keep lifesaving equipment on the beach.”