LISTEN: Lifesavers lobby council for cash to man Agnes beach

NOT-FOR-profit Surf Life Saving Queensland will continue to lobby governments to cough up the cash needed to man Agnes Water beach on weekdays throughout winter. 

SLSQ Chief Operating Office George Hill is trying to "make sure [council] are aware" of how many people flock to Agnes Water beach in the hope that they or the State Government will stump up more cash.   

He also said SLSQ wouldn't be replacing paid lifeguards with volunteers on Agnes Water Beach.

Gladstone Regional Council already pays $200,000 a year for patrols at Tannum Sands and Agnes Water and last month refused to increase that funding by $30,000.  

A photo taken in February last year when conditions at Agnes Water beach were too dangerous for anyone to be out surfing.
A photo taken in February last year when conditions at Agnes Water beach were too dangerous for anyone to be out surfing. Contributed

 That's despite the fact SLSQ has made it clear for the past five years that it believes the service is necessary, giving the council five years warning it needed more money.  

Now SLSQ --- which was funding the patrols itself --- has been forced to cut services back to Saturday and Sundays when the beach is the busiest, until September.  

However CEO George Hills says he's isn't giving up.  

George Hill discussing services at Agnes Water Beach which have been cut back to weekends only during the winter months.

"We will organise a meeting with the council and make sure they're aware of the visitation numbers and our recommendations," Mr Hill said.   

"We need to remember that this regional council is still supplying more than $200,000 to the service and that's obviously within their budget."  

The news of patrol cut backs led to fears from some locals, including former Surf Life Saving Club president Ernie Vaughan, who said backpackers would now be at risk of drowning.   

Mr Vaughan suggested volunteers take over the patrols. Mr Hill says that's not an option.   

"We've already got volunteers doing summer and we don't want to over stretch them," Mr Hill said.   

"It's particularly important in summer because that's stinger season and when we have our nippers out too."  

How can you spot a rip current?   Key signs are;

  • deeper and/ or darker water
  • fewer breaking waves
  • sandy coloured water extending beyond the surf zone
  • debris or seaweed 
  • significant water movement

**If you're caught in a rip, swim parallel to the shore.

Source: Surf Life Saving Queensland



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