The Australian sun is extremely strong, especially between 10am and 3pm. Always use a combination of shade, adequate clothing including a shirt, hat, sunglasses and 30+ sunscreen lotion. For further information on any of the topics below, visit Surf Lifesaving Queensland.
At the beach always swim between the red and yellow flags during patrolled times not outside them. The flags mark the safest place to swim and the area where lifesavers and lifeguards patrol. Blue flags indicate where surfing is allowed.
Many surf beaches in Australia have strong currents, called rips. These are powerful currents of water that can drag you out to sea. If you find yourself being caught in a rip, do not panic. Stay calm, float with the current and raise your hand, swim parallel to the shore. Do not try to swim against the rip, as you will simply get tired and lose strength.
- If you are unsure of the beach surf conditions check with a lifesaver.
- Read and obey warning signs on beaches, beach access points and at waterways.
- Always swim with others. Children should always be accompanied in the water by an adult who can swim.
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in darkness.
- Never jump or dive into shallow water, a rockpool, creek, lake or river due to immersed rocks and logs.
- Know your health limitations when considering diving, snorkelling, swimming (or other active pursuits).
Queensland, like any coastal destination, has marine life that can pose threats to humans when proper precautions are not observed. While these creatures do not pose a major threat, it is important to be aware of their potential danger. We've listed the creatures below, not to alarm you, but rather to point out some significant facts.
While shark attacks are rare, the following precautions help reduce the risk of dangerous incidents:
- Sharks can be found in ocean, river and canal waters throughout Australia in varying sizes.
- Australia’s patrolled public beaches are comprehensively shark-netted to avert any potential danger.
- Please swim between the flags where lifeguards patrol for shark dangers.
Be aware of dangerous marine stingers present in northern Australian waters during the higher risk months (November-May).
- Always swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.
- Wear protective clothing (eg wet suit or lycra body suit) to reduce exposure to potential stings.
- Do not swim when beaches are closed.
- Look for and observe safety and warning signs that will advise of dangers present.
- In the case of marine stings in northern Australian waters, the following is recommended:
- Restrain the patient from rubbing the sting and advise them to remain still, being careful not to be stung yourself.
- Call for Help, Dial 000 for an ambulance.
- Administer Emergency Care.
- Treat the sting by pouring vinegar onto the sting area.
Refer to www.marinestingers.com.au
for more information.
There are both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles in Tropical North Queensland. They can be found around rivers, freshwater lagoons and coastal beaches.
When fishing, avoid standing at the water's edge or on logs or branches that hang over deep water.
When camping near lakes, rivers and beaches, camp about two metres from the high water mark and at least 50 metres from the edge of the water. Crocodiles are most active at night.
Read and obey warning signs, they are there for a reason.
Boating & Maritime Safety
- Before setting out, check the weather forecast with the Bureau of Meteorology at www.bom.gov.au
- Check the tides and chart of where you’re planning to go. Carry the chart with you if possible. Tides can change rapidly, particularly in northern Australia, leaving boats stuck on sandbars.
- Advise someone responsible of your boating plans. If the plan changes during the voyage, notify them immediately and always report in when you return. Liaise with your local marine rescue group before departing on your voyage. Notify them of your plans, and planned return time.
- Ensure you have the correct safety equipment and survival gear on board including life jackets (Personal Flotation Devices) and a distress beacon (EPIRB).
- Make sure you have enough fuel for the return trip and remember, changed weather conditions on your return could mean fuel consumption could double.
- Make sure that the boat you plan to use is properly maintained/serviced and the battery charged.
- Carry a marine radio (please do not rely on a mobile phone). A radio Mayday can be heard by many people at the same time and is a lot more reliable than a mobile phone.
- Ensure you have enough food and water for all on board.
For further information, download the Visitor Safety Handbook.