Don't take the risk of jellyfish stings: lifeguards
LIFEGUARDS are pleading with swimmers to stay out of the water as most Far Northern beaches remain closed due to widespread stinger activity.
Marine researcher Jamie Seymour caught 45 potentially deadly irukandji jellyfish on Saturday night near the Palm Cove jetty while yesterday, lifeguards said up to 50 stingers were caught in sweeps of swimming enclosures on the northern beaches.
"It's very frustrating when lifeguards still have swimmers who continue to disobey the warning signs despite the beach being closed and lifeguards telling people to get out of the water," North Queensland lifeguard supervisor Jay March said.
"People just don't care and the lifeguards are just trying to do their best to keep everyone safe."
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Tourist Richard Maxwell is holidaying at Palm Cove and was surprised to see people continuing to swim in the enclosure after lifeguards had warned them about the dangers of marine stingers.
"Yes, I was very surprised. It's really silly," he said.
"We went out on the Reef but we made sure we wore stinger suits and I am glad we did because jellyfish did swim by," he said.
"It's a shame that we cannot swim but we understand and it's nice to walk along the beach and enjoy the water from afar.
"It's just not worth the risk to go swimming."
Beaches from Machans Beach to Port Douglas are expected to remain closed today after two stings were recorded yesterday, with lifeguards continuing to assess swimming enclosures throughout the day.
Yesterday, a young woman was stung at Kewarra Beach and a fisherman was stung near the Palm Cove jetty while he was casting his net.
Marine researcher Dr Seymour said he caught a larger than usual number of jellyfish on Saturday night dragging a net between the Palm Cove swimming enclosure and the jetty.
"We went out a couple of nights last week and we were only getting one or two jellyfish but the weather was perfect for them on Saturday night," he said.
"The jellyfish, which were a mix of box jellyfish and irukandji, will be used to help us continue our research on them."
With beaches closed and the temperature soaring to 31C over the weekend, tourists and locals retreated to backyard pools, swimming holes and the Esplanade Lagoon to cool down.
It is expected to be another hot day today with the temperature reaching 30C but scattered showers with the chance of isolated thunderstorms should cool things off later in the day.
For the latest beach information visit www.northqueenslandlifesaving.com.
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Be warned: Lifeguard Ellie Harnebrandt caught several irukandji in a drag at Palm Cove swimming enclosure yesterday. Picture: STEWART McLEAN