New campaign to put safety first this summer
WITH the summer holidays underway, there will be no shortage of people looking to relax and beat the heat by the sea.
But just because it's the holidays does not mean it's time to switch off to safety.
Surf Life Saving Queensland has launched a new campaign aimed at curbing an alarming and recent spike in drownings.
In the last 12 months, 21 people have tragically lost their lives along Queensland's coastline and SLSQ Regional Manager Craig Holden has pleaded with beachgoers to put safety first this summer.
"Twenty-one drownings on Queensland beaches last season was a devastating outcome and, quite frankly, it's something we never want to see again," he said.
"The sad reality is most drownings can be prevented, and our new summer safety campaign highlights how simple and easy choices - such as swimming between the flags - can avert a potential tragedy and spare your loved ones from a lifetime of heartbreak.
"There were a number of drownings last season within 500 metres of a patrol service and you can't help but think how many of those people would still be alive today if they'd only walked an extra five minutes to find the flags."
The new campaign will run across the coming weeks as a reminder for beachgoers to put safety first at all times.
With more than half of last season's drowning victims men over 50-years-old, Mr Holden said they chose an older male as a central character in their campaign to highlight the risks for older beachgoers.
"In years gone by it's been younger males who were most 'at risk' of drowning but more recently, we've seen a clear shift towards older beachgoers," he said.
"It doesn't matter how old you are or how much experience you have in the ocean, if you're not putting safety first, then you're putting your life on the line.
"A number of drownings last year came after swimmers suffered a medical episode in the water, so we're also encouraging any beachgoers approaching, or aged over 50, to visit their doctor for regular check-ups."
Despite a slight chance of some showers and thunderstorms this evening, the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a hot and partly cloudy weekend for Wide Bay residents.
Bundaberg's temperature is predicted to reach a maximum of 33 degrees today and 32 degrees tomorrow.
While the region saw a Severe fire danger rating yesterday, this weekend it is ranked at a High status.
Volunteer patrols across the region are now operating between 8am and 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
A daily lifeguard service is also in operation until the end of January.
For more, visit www.slsq.co/surf-safety