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Easter surf safety message: 'staying out of the water can be the best option'

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Following another tragic summer on the Sunshine Coast, thousands of volunteer surf lifesavers and professional lifeguards are bracing for what is expected to be a busy and challenging Easter long weekend.

Rough autumn surf conditions have prompted the reminder to beachgoers that a dip in the ocean can be deadly if they aren’t swimming at patrolled beaches.

Surf Life Saving Queensland Sunshine Coast regional operations manager Aaron Purchase said swimming between the red and yellow flags was always the best way to stay safe at the beach.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is for anyone heading to the beach to only swim between the red and yellow flags during patrol hours where lifeguards and lifesavers can see them,” he said.

“If the conditions are extremely rough, as we have experienced recently, staying out of the water can be the best option, no matter how confident a swimmer you are.”

Two men drowned on the Sunshine Coast within the space of a week in February.

A 60-year-old man was unable to be saved after swimming outside the flags off Marcoola Esplanade, just days after a man drowned at Mooloolaba Beach.

Surf lifesaving patrol members keep an eye on swimmers. Picture: Warren Lynam

Volunteer surf lifesavers patrol at major Sunshine Coast beaches every weekend and on public holidays from 7am to 5pm from the September school holidays to early May. This service supports professional lifeguard patrols, funded by Sunshine Coast Council, which occur year-round.

The council’s $5.8 million investment in lifeguard services this financial year provides 34 permanent lifeguards, two supervisors, a chief lifeguard and a casual pool of up to 96 lifeguards during peak season, across 22 patrolled beach locations, from North Coolum to Bulcock Beach.

It also provides professional lifeguards with vital equipment they need to perform their duties including jet skis, rescue boards, flags and first aid kits.

You can access the latest information about your local beach conditions, including lifeguard patrol status, weather, swell and tide conditions by downloading the Beachsafe app.

Sunshine Coast areas patrolled by lifeguards

Tier 1 (major locations) – all year round: Kings Beach, Dicky Beach, Mooloolaba Main Beach and Spit, Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore, Twin Waters, Mudjimba, Discovery Beach, Marcoola Beach and Coolum

Tier 2 (seasonal service) – seven days a week between September and May; May to September weekends; and school and public holidays: Bulcock, Buddina/Kawana, Coolum North

Tier 3 (weekend/holiday service) – weekends and school and public holidays September to May: Currimundi

Tier 4 (lower seasonal service) – weekends and school and public holidays from September to May: Happy Valley (surveillance service), Boardwalk (Mount Coolum), Bokarina and Wurtulla

Tier 5 (summer holiday service only) – school holidays between September to May: Kings Beach Pool, Maroochy River Mouth and Yaroomba

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