Box jellyfish caught at popular Mackay beach prompts plea
Swimmers are being urged to take precautions on beaches with recent rains flushing box jellyfish from the creeks to the coastline.
Eimeo Surf Lifesaving president Ross Gee said the first box jellyfish was caught in a drag about 2pm Sunday, shutting Eimeo Beach to swimmers.
Mr Gee said other box jellyfish were also previously caught at Bucasia and Sarina beaches.
“The rain has flushed them out and now that the south-easterly (wind) has settled down, they’re washing out of the creeks and into the shore,” Mr Gee said.
“With box jellyfish, if you’re still screaming when you hit the bank, you will likely survive but it’s when your body shuts down when you’re still in the water.
“Your body is in that much pain (after a sting) it just shuts down.”
Mr Gee said there had not been a death from a box jellyfish for about nine years but it remained a risk for beach swimmers.
He urged anyone entering the water to wear a stinger suit.
“Stinger suits are the seatbelts of the surf, and I’m trying to get that message out,” he said.
“(Suits) are becoming more popular at Eimeo because the locals and the regular swimmers are seeing all the clubbies wearing them, but you still get girls in bikinis,” he said.
“A lot of the body is still exposed but basically, cover up where you don’t want scarred.”
The deadly Irukandji jellyfish, which Mr Gee said were about the side of a thumbnail, had also been caught on patrolled beaches.
“There’s been a few Irukandji in and around the islands but we do catch them on our … 32 beaches,” he said.
“Consider swimming at Platypus Beach when the weather is hot and there are northerly winds after the raid.
“And always swim at a patrolled beach. The value of having first responders there could save your life.”