OUT OF THEIR DEPTH
Push to make tourists safer at state’s most dangerous beach
GREEN Island has been rated the most dangerous beach in Queensland for the second time in three years despite efforts to make tourists safer.
A 67-year-old Japanese tourist became the sixth person to drown at the popular leisure destination, 27km north-west of Cairns, in the past 10 years. He could not be revived after being pulled from the water in October last year.
The figure could have been even higher after a 43year-old female snorkeller survived a near-drowning off the island which left her in a critical condition in January.
Both incidents occurred outside the patrol flags.
The man was among four drowning deaths on beaches throughout the state between July 1, 2016 and June 30 this year.
Green Island’s horror record will be highlighted in the Surf Life Saving Queensland annual report released today along with stingers and other aquatic trends in the past 12 months and 10 years.
“A lot of these drownings have unfortunately involved international tourists and travellers who don’t always have a lot of experience in the ocean,” SLSQ North Queensland regional manager Rob Davidson said.
“In the past few years, we’ve been working closely with key stakeholders to improve and increase safety and this will continue to remain a priority.”
The two episodes on Green Island prompted a renewed call by former SLSQ regional manager Col Sparkes for further State Government funding to pay a third lifeguard on the island to patrol the second beach.
The organisation briefly funded the third spot in early 2015 before coffers dried up.
Seabob technology has been introduced on the island in the past year to assist lifeguards with search and rescue activities.
Mr Davidson said increased use of multilingual booklets to improve communication with tourists, an aquatic audit and extra signs had been introduced.
He said plans were underway to install a lifeguard tower on the island. The feasibility of remotely-operated drones in patrols and search operations was being investigated.
EXCITING ADVENTURE: Matisse Reed of St Monica's College (left) and James Humphris of Cairns State High School will fly to Italy on November 18.