Rainbow Beach lifeguards call for care
LIFEGUARDS are calling for care ahead of a holiday period in which more than 1300 people per day were expected to take their break on Rainbow Beach's sandy shores.
With two drownings on Australian beaches in the past week, surf lifesaver Sam Cartwright urged holiday-makers to stay aware and swim between the flags if possible.
Where it was not, he said it was best they know their limits.
"I understand that in this area there are plenty of people camping in places where there's no lifeguard service that has flags so to those people... we can't keep them out of the water, but I'd just say stay at a comfortable depth,” he said.
"If something happens no-one's going to be there to help you.”
While common advice was to steer clear of rips, Mr Cartwtight said managing the could unfortunately be a bit more complex.
"It's a bit tricky because there's more than one type of rip,” he said.
"A fixed rip is normally easier to see because it's there for a period of time, and that will normally be seen as a deeper hole, an area where if you really try to look at the water you can see that it's moving back out to sea.”
However, flash rips - cause by a series of waves which then drag all the water back out to sea - were equally dangerous and much more unpredictable.
"Even in our flags we get flash rips, that's just unpreventable,” he said.
"That's why we ask people to stay at a comfortable depth for their ability.”
And while overcrowding could be uncomfortable, he said it paled in comparison to the alternative.
"There's never been a preventable drowning between the flags.”
Although the holidays had been a touch quiet in the past few weeks, he said visitors could expect to at lot of others on Cooloola Coast beaches once Christmas rolled in.
On average, he said, Rainbow Beach lifeguards would be faced with about 300 people in the water at any one time, and about 1000 on the sand.
And other parts of the coast got even more than that.
"Double Island Pt will get busier than that, when it peaks there's like 1000 cars on this side plus people on the campgrounds up the eastern side.”
And so far, trouble had refused to surface.
"Everyone's been good.”