Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving lifeguard Shane Thornton and club captain Shane Ridge.
Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving lifeguard Shane Thornton and club captain Shane Ridge. Karleila Thomsen

Beach-goers safe this season

HERVEY Bay’s surf lifesavers had a cushy Christmas and new year, monitoring well-behaved crowds and attending just a few minor beach incidents.

Shane Ridge, captain of Hervey Bay Surf Life Saving Club, said large crowds had hit the shores but the majority of people were respectful and co-operative when taking advice from surf lifesavers.

And swimmers suffered just a few minor injuries over the busy period.

“We’ve been very lucky this year,” Mr Ridge said.

“We had a woman with a minor sting up near the pier but we aren’t even sure it was a marine sting; it might have been a bee sting.

“It’s been quite a good season over Christmas, with a lot of people on the beach, a lot of picnics and barbecues.

“The rain was a bit of a nuisance but we do need it.”

One main concern for surf lifesavers was the number of young people continuing to leap from the Bay’s jetties, he said.

“We did have a couple of incidents where we spoke to the public about doing that,” Mr Ridge said.

“The tide changes so much during the day that they don’t realise how shallow it can get through there.

“If there’s a bit of a northerly then that can push them up against the pylons which can have barnacles and sharp bits protruding from them.

“People don’t realise that there could be objects under the water even when it looks fine to jump in.

“You jump in and break your back and suddenly you are in a wheelchair.

“It’s not worth it for the five minutes of fun.”

Other minor incidents included a girl who sliced her foot on a fish bone and a few jet skis coming too close to swimmers.

“We had a couple of jet skis coming too close to the flags but they were all really good this year – anything we did say they took heed to.

“With jet skis, you have to be very careful because they come in fast and close to the shore.”

There were no stings from stingrays or jellyfish and there was only one lost child – a boy who was later found to have walked home.

Mr Ridge said that despite the recent drizzly weather he was expecting the beaches to remain busy throughout the school holidays.

“It will probably stay fairly busy until school goes back ... and we’ll be on the beach until May 3.”

He said the club was always taking new members so anyone interested in getting their bronze medallion and first aid training was welcome to stop in for more information.

Mr Ridge also welcomes people to approach surf life savers for advice on beach conditions or even just a friendly chat.



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