‘Be hyper-vigilant’: Shark sightings on the rise
BEACHGOERS should not worry about going in the water after a string of frightening shark sightings and encounters but extra vigilance is urged by Gold Coast's top surf lifesaver.
Swimmers, surfers and other water users should be hyper-vigilant, stay between the flags and avoid swimming at dawn, dusk and among baitfish schooling close to shore.
Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) lifesaving services supervisor Nathan Fife and Gold Coast City Council have confirmed helicopter, jet ski, drone and lifeguard patrols will protect beachgoers during the school holidays which started at the weekend.
"There is a lot of bait balls around and the whales are still migrating south," Mr Fife said.
"I'm not concerned (about the sightings and run-ins), but we are on alert. It is the ocean. We do see sharks and other marine life out there.
"People should be aware of where they're swimming, when they're swimming.
"Make sure you're swimming at beaches during patrolled times. If you do come across bait balls, or you see birds diving into the water, go into shore and notify lifeguards."
Dorsal Shark Reports has racked up a spate of community reports about shark activity on the Coast and over the border in Tweed in recent days.
A two-metre hammerhead shark was reported at Cudgen and another shark was said to be attacking a thrashing whale in dramatic scenes at Kingscliff on Sunday.
On Thursday, a five-metre great white reportedly bumped into a surfer at Burleigh Heads and a four-metre great white circled near Tallebudgera Creek, while on Wednesday a three-to-four-metre shark left a tooth in the board of a surfer at Cabarita.
The reports follow the fatal attack of popular Miami surfer Nick Slater at Greenmount Beach two weeks ago, the first fatal mauling on a city beach in more than 60 years. Tugun surfer Rob Pedretti was savaged and killed at Salt Beach near Kingscliff, NSW, on June 7.
No beaches have been closed in recent days, SLSQ and the council confirmed.
Mr Fife said lifeguards in towers would be "keeping an eye out for any movement, where the surfers are and behind the flags".
He stopped short of advising beachgoers to reconsider hitting the beach.
But Mr Fife warned beachgoers should avoid the water when conditions are dicey, such as when "it's a bit overcast and murky".
"Surfers should make sure they're looking out for each other. Make sure you're surfing with a buddy," he said.
"If you hear an evacuation alarm over the PA, from the lifesavers or the helicopter, please obey them and get out."
PREVENT SHARK ATTACKS
- Don't swim dawn/dusk.
- Always swim in clear water (not in murky water, busy anchorages, estuary mouths or canals).
- Don't throw food scraps or fish waste overboard (including in anchorages or where people are swimming).
- Don't swim where fish are being cleaned.
- Swim, surf, snorkel or dive with a buddy.
- Follow local signage and swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.
Originally published as 'Be hyper-vigilant': Shark sightings on the rise