More than 500 volunteers plunge into surf rescue season
GLADSTONE'S 518 volunteer lifesavers are gearing up for a massive eight months at 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 five people were rescued at Tannum Sands.
The region's Surf Life Saving Queensland volunteers also completed 19 potentially life-saving preventive 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 applied first aid six times.
The 2015-16 rescue season started on Saturday and runs through to the end of the May Day long weekend.
SLSQ chief John Brennan said beach-lovers would flock to Gladstone's beaches and waterways 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.
- APN NEWSDESK
What Gladstone's 518 volunteer surf lifesavers did last season:
- Rescues: 5
- Preventive actions: 19
- Oxygen treatments: 1
- Total first aid: 6
- Source: Surf Life Saving Queensland