Jack Allwood and Courtney Klerks from Rockhampton cool off in the water at Yeppoon Main Beach.
Jack Allwood and Courtney Klerks from Rockhampton cool off in the water at Yeppoon Main Beach. Sharyn Oneill So

Stingers won’t deter Jack

SPOTTING marine stingers and sharks in the waters on the Capricorn Coast hasn’t deterred Jack Allwood from heading out into the deep blue sea.

And after a 10-year-old girl was left in a serious condition after being stung by a box jellyfish in Calliope and an 18-year-old spearfishing off Heron Island was attacked by a bull shark last weekend, it is certainly a reminder that we share the waters with these creatures.

Despite living in Rockhampton Jack says he heads to the beach on his time off work to go for a refreshing swim, enjoying the waves and salt water.

On occasions while spearfishing Jack has seen both sharks and stingers, but rarely, and mostly in the deeper water.

“If you see them, stay away from them and leave them be,” Jack said.

After catching a bus to Yeppoon yesterday with Courtney Klerks, the pair enjoyed a break on Yeppoon Main Beach joining plenty of other swimmers in the water, under the watchful eye of the lifeguards on patrol.

“If there are stingers in the water the lifeguard tells you.”

Craig Holden, Surf Lifesaving regional manager for Wide Bay Capricorn region, said there had been no reports of stinger stings on the Capricorn Coast since the lifeguard season started in September.

While the coast has had sightings of box jellyfish around Christmas last year, and Irukandji found around Agnes Water and off Great Keppel Island in previous years, the Capricorn Coast region has been pretty much incident free.

“On the whole we are generally low risk,” Craig said.

Jason Thompson, club captain of the Yeppoon Surf Lifesaving Club, said it was important to be vigilant in the water and be on the watch for sharks and stingers.

“Big tides with a lot of bait running, there is a possibility of bringing sharks in,” Jason said.

“Stinger season is potentially the end of November to February, and now with warm weather, warm water and northerly winds, they could be around.”

He said with the beaches becoming busier now that holidays had started, swimmers just needed to be sensible, talk to the lifesavers on patrol, read the message boards and keep a look out.

“If you can’t swim at a patrolled beach, swim with someone else.

“Don’t swim alone and tell people where you are going.”

Tony Han, manager of the Queensland Shark Control Program, said the little bits of rain we had received and warmer water temperatures meant sharks would be around. “The reality is, inshore we do see a bit more movement of sharks at this time this year.”

To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable summer he said it was all about being more alert and aware, and following a few simple rules such as swimming at patrolled beaches, not swimming alone and not swimming on dusk.



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