Swim­mers warned to pad­dle in­side the net

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALL­BONE

JUST be­cause you can’t see them, doesn’t mean that they aren’t there.

One of the most venomous ma­rine an­i­mals known to mankind has been spot­ted in lo­cal wa­ters.

Five box jel­ly­fish were caught on Port Dou­glas’s Four Mile Beach last week and life­guards are warn­ing peo­ple to stay in­side the en­clo­sure nets.

Life­guard su­per­vi­sor Jay March caught the dan­ger­ous stingers while do­ing the morn­ing drag and said swim­mers need to stick to the rules.

“Talk to your life­guards, cover up as much as pos­si­ble and don’t swim out­side the nets,” Mr March said.

“The box jel­ly­fish are very dan­ger­ous and can kill you within two min­utes. It is very com­mon to find them this time of year with the calm con­di­tions.”

Box jel­ly­fish are cube or bell-shaped, pale blue and trans­par­ent and have ap­prox­i­mately 15 ten­ta­cles on each corner which can mea­sure up to three me­tres long. The five ju­ve­nile jel­ly­fish caught were very small, how­ever it means they can make their way through the nets.

Vic­tims who are stung can suf­fer car­diac ar­rest within a few min­utes, ex­pe­ri­ence shock and ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain.

A num­ber of tourists are still swim­ming out­side of net­ted ar­eas along the beach where lo­cal life­guards have had to ask them swim in­side the nets.

“From time to time we still have to con­front peo­ple about the stingers and ask them to move into the net­ted ar­eas,” Mr March said.

Tourists say they feel com­fort­able swim­ming in­side the net­ted ar­eas even though a num­ber of deadly stingers have been found.

Mel­bourne woman El­iz­a­beth Merai has been swim­ming in­side the nets dur­ing her hol­i­day and says she feels safe.

“We feel safe swim­ming in­side the nets be­cause the life­guards are close by,” she said.

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