New trial for ‘dumping’ beach as lifesavers back on alert
NOOSA'S red and yellow-capped volunteer lifesavers will be back on duty from 7am flags up Saturday morning just in time for the school holiday crowds.
And one of the first to line up for the opening duty at Sunshine Beach is Surf Life Saving Queensland's volunteer of the year Craig Law, who is expecting 2019-20 season to start off with a rush just like last year's demanding season that saw plenty of challenges.
In the Noosa region there were three drownings outside the flags, two in one week, as part of the 21 statewide surf deaths. Of those, 12 victims were males aged between 51 and 73, and 10 international visitors.
"Luckily for us and the lifesaving fraternity, the zero fatalities between the flag was still maintained," Craig said.
He said there has been a massive increase in male drowning deaths as they over-estimate their surf swimming ability.
"I think it comes from the old bravado of 'I'm right, I can swim, I'll be okay' and then all of a sudden rips come across.
"The sea can be very unsuspecting at times - it looks all nice and calm and they go into an area where they get into trouble.
"Obviously the contributing factors are alcohol and going in after a big night on the sauce and then decide to head out for a swim.
"Instead of generally going with the rip, they fight against it."
Despite the major clubhouse rebuild that has impacted on member facilities, it will be business as usual. In fact the "clubbies" on the beach will have an extra and powerful rescue resource.
Craig said Sunshine Beach was one of two clubs across Queensland that will have a patrol jet ski stationed on the beach all-day for emergency responses.
Other clubs rely on roving jet ski "waverunners" doing passing patrol sweeps up and down the coast.
"We've got jet ski capabilities as part of our arsenal now due to our beach being what it is with that dumping shorey (surf break).
"It's single manpower and it's a great operation to get out quickly."
"If the weather keeps up like it is, I expect to see we'll see a fairly big beach population coming through."
He said the school holidays will keep Sunshine's more than 210 active patrol members on their toes "which we look forward to".
"We like to start the season with aplomb and plenty of people on the beach.
"The patrolling numbers are really solid this year across all the clubs."
Sunshine also has a couple of bronze courses in progress to bolster the rosters when they attain their bronze medallions.
"I don't think the beach conditions forecast is anything too treacherous, obviously Sunshine is known as one of Queensland's more treacherous beaches, but we're pretty friendly.
"We make sure we keep our beach goers very informed down there as to what the conditions are make sure they stay in the flagged area.
The club's makeshift mode will see the members operate out of shipping container as a gear storage shed
"We've got a bare bones operation going, but with the required (rescue) equipment down there in regards to an IRB, jet ski and ATV and patrol arena.
"It's business as usual, nothing has changed, but no warm showers for members after patrols."
Craig hopes the club complex will be back open in time for the Christmas peak.
Flags up at all lifesaver patrolled beaches is 7am and down again at 5pm.