With that in mind, SLSQ lifesaving services manager Peta Lawlor is encouraging swimmers to take responsibility for their safety and stay between the red and yellow flags over the long weekend.
“The beach is always a popular place for celebrations on Australia Day and rightly so, but we just ask anyone who’s getting in the water to stop and take a moment to think about their safety,” Ms Lawlor said.
“So far this summer we’ve had zero preventable drownings on Queensland beaches, which has been a great result, and we’re calling on the public to help us keep it that way.
“At the end of the day we want beachgoers to look back on this Australia Day with fond memories – we certainly don’t want someone making a rash decision about their safety which they’ll eventually regret.
“It’s important that swimmers exercise caution and we obviously discourage anyone from entering the surf unless there is an active patrol on duty, which will be signified by the red and yellow flags,” she said.
Ms Lawlor also warned of the dangers associated while swimming under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“It’s no secret that Australians love to celebrate a public holiday and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of folks looking to have a few drinks in the process, but we really discourage people from bringing the party to the beach and mixing alcohol with a swim,” she said.
“People often think they’re invincible after a few drinks but it doesn’t take much to find yourself in trouble. Alcohol can greatly impair your judgement and slows your reflexes – a potentially deadly combination when it comes to the surf,” she said.
Ms Lawlor encouraged beach visitors to follow these simple guidelines to enjoy an incident-free day at the beach:
- Swim between the red and yellow flags
- Look for and follow the advice of safety signs
- Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for some good advice
- Swim with a friend
- Stick your hand up for help
- Don’t swim at unpatrolled beaches
- Don’t swim at night or after drinking alcohol