BEACHGOERS can cool off this summer with the added protection of the stinger net enclosure at popular local swimming spot, Forrest Beach.
Stinger nets were returned to the water at North Queensland’s most popular swimming beaches from Port Douglas to The Strand last week.
November marks the start of the stinger season and as the weather warms up, the risk of stingers increases, and lifesavers are urging the public to take caution when swimming in tropical waters.
Forrest Beach Surf Life Saving Club Captain, Luke Kaurila said it is important for beachgoers to remain vigilant and take extra precautions swimming in the warmer months.
He said: ‘Forrest Beach is fortunate to have a patrolled swimming enclosure, so the community can still enjoy the beach and water and our beautiful lifestyle up here in the North.
‘While the risk of stingers increases in the warmer weather, beachgoers can take extra precautions by always swimming in the enclosure set out by the red and yellow flags and continue to wear protective clothing while swimming. If anyone has any questions or concerns, they can see our lifesavers on patrol.’
Mr Kaurila reassured the public that lifeguards and lifesavers would continue to perform regular stinger drags in and around patrolled areas.
‘Our stinger drags are a vital part of our patrol and allow us to identify if any stingers are present and to ensure none have managed to make their way into the enclosure. In the event one is identified, we will close the beach immediately.’
He added: ‘It is important when swimming in the net not to interfere with, play on or sink the floating pontoon surrounding the net as there is potential for stingers to wash over the top.’
The enclosure is operated by Uninet Enclosures, and has a mesh size of 25mm designed to exclude large box jellyfish which are most frequent during the months of November until May.
Uninet operates approximately 30 marine stinger enclosures along the North Queensland Coast through local councils.
Local surf clubs help maintain the nets to ensure no damage is caused due to wild weather, and rough conditions and can be adjusted to suit the tide movements.
Mr Kaurila said it is wise for beachgoers to check the tide times before coming for a swim to ensure water is in the net for them to enjoy.
‘Although, even at low tide it is a great chance for the little ones to run around in the shallow water and play in the sand.
‘We encourage anyone visiting any beach this summer to go to a patrolled location and swim between the red and yellow flags.’
Forrest Beach surf lifesavers patrol Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Sundays and public holidays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Enclosures operate from November to May during stinger season.
SAFETY TIPS FROM SURF LIFE SAVING QUEENSLAND
Always swim at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags.
Look for and obey safety signs.
Don’t enter the water when beaches are closed.
Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for help and advice if you need it.
Don’t touch marine stingers washed up on the beach, they can still sting you.
In tropical waters, it is also recommended that you take these additional measures:
Swim in the stinger nets where provided.
Wear a full-body lycra suit to provide a good measure of protection against marine stings, particularly during the stinger season. If you are unable to wear a stinger suit, a rash vest is advisable.
Enter the water slowly – this can give marine stingers time to move away.