Surf lifesavers ready for summer
GYMPIE'S 247 volunteer lifesavers are gearing up for a massive eight months by the beach.
The area's red and yellow army expects this year's surf lifesaving season to be on par with the 2014-15 spring-summer period when 18 people were rescued at Rainbow Beach.
The region's Surf Life Saving Queensland volunteers also completed 1773 potentially lifesaving preventative actions, including moving flags as surf conditions changed, preventing people from entering dangerous rips and checking on swimmers who appeared to be in difficulty.
During the 2014-15 season they searched for four missing beachgoers, treated 124 stings and 54 spinal injuries. and administered oxygen twice.
The 2015-16 rescue season starts on September 19 and runs through to the end of the May Day long weekend.
SLSQ chief John Brennan said beach lovers would flock to Gympie as the weather heated up and tourism campaigns moved into top gear.
"We monitor the weather patterns. As a result we are predicting we're going to see a hot humid summer," Mr Brennan said.
"The tourism bodies are pushing for a lot more visitation to our coastlines.
"So we're ready for an influx of visitors who want to enjoy our waterways and beaches."
Mr Brennan said surf lifesavers trained all year to ensure the region's beaches were safe.
"Without the volunteers there could be a lot more drownings along our coast and in our waterways," he said.
"In some cases they go into dangerous situations to rescue someone from a rip and they probably don't think about that danger."
Mr Brennan said long weekends were the key danger periods.
"We've seen some unfortunate spikes around Easter and the Anzac weekends," he said.
"We've seen some tragedies at these times so the lifesavers will be on heightened alert then and right through the summer."
He urged beachgoers to do their bit and play it safe.
"We want people to enjoy what we have at our doorstep and there is nothing worse than a tragedy," Mr Brennan said.
"Only swim between the red and yellow flags - if in doubt, talk to a lifesaver.
"Do not swim in darkness because the risk is high.
"Children should always be supervised around waterways, lagoons and beaches."
- SHERELE MOODY
Between the flags
What Gympie's 247 volunteer surf lifesavers did last season:
Preventative actions: 1773
Missing people searches: 4
Spinal injury treatments: 54
Oxygen treatments: 2
Sting treatments: 124
Total first aid: 180
*Rescues at Rainbow Beach.
Source: Surf Life Saving Queensland