Putting the sting into a Far North Queensland day at the beach

Posted by barbara on May 8, 2016

 

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Australian coast dwellers who live south of Queensland's Gladstone should count themselves lucky that their beaches are stinger free, at least for now.

Sharks aside, the last thing southerners expect when taking a dip is an encounter with a stinger more unpleasant than a 'blue bottle'.

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For Far North Queenslanders, however, the risk is highest between November and June, with stinger nets in place on popular beaches to provide a sting free swimming option.

While the locals are used to such limitations, tourists may not be, especially around the start and end of the stinger season. 

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How many signs (in English) does one need to alert visitors to the risks of swimming in the waters of Far North Queensland. Crocodile warning signs also front walkways to most FN QLD beaches and rivers.

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So what's involved in providing safe swimming during the stinger season?

Sophisticated 'bayside' machinery is required to haul the stinger nets out of the water during high winds and 'rolling' them out again for swimmers once conditions improve. 

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Such is the concern about stingers that FN QLD lifesavers rarely have to cope with people swimming outside the confines of the narrow white enclosure, as in ignoring the red and yellow flags.

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A closeup of a stinger net reveals the mechanism, as in a floating swimming perimeter that supports a stinger net, ideally weighted down to cope with the rising and falling tides.

 

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