Changes to Mackay’s beach patrols

Published: 21 Dec 2022

A change to Surf Life Saving Queensland’s procedures will significantly impact the number of beaches that can be patrolled in the Mackay region.

As part of changes to their marine stinger risk management procedure, two lifeguards are now required to perform a box jellyfish drag before opening a beach.

This task was previously performed by one lifeguard with a smaller sized net.

However, the procedure has been updated following recommendations from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland after the tragic death of a teenager at Eimeo Beach earlier this year due to a box jellyfish sting.

As a result, only Harbour Beach, Lamberts Beach and Eimeo Beach will be patrolled regularly for the next 12 months, starting Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

Sarina Beach will be patrolled intermittently by volunteer lifesavers and a roving lifeguard will be visiting both Sarina and Bucasia beaches each week to advise beachgoers of the risks of swimming at local beaches.

Development Services director Aletta Nugent said the reduction in patrolled beaches was unfortunate, but council had no other option.

“Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) patrol our beaches and they have been struggling with staff shortages for quite some time,” Ms Nugent said.

“Given the additional resourcing requirements of the new procedure, our only option was to reduce the number of beaches patrolled across the region or the contract would be cancelled as the terms would be unable to be met,” she said.

“This would mean we wouldn’t have anyone to patrol any of the beaches.

“Over the next 12 months we’ll be investigating ways to reinstate patrols to Bucasia Beach and Sarina Beach.

“We’re hopeful that the job market may also improve during this time.”

Residents in Sarina are encouraged to visit for regular updates on the dates and times that volunteer lifesavers will patrol Sarina Beach.

Residents are also encouraged to visit for beach open/closure updates for SLSQ’s entire patrol region.