The beaches and oceans of tropical Queensland and Australia are an important part of the natural attraction of these regions. They are also home to several species of marine stingers, including Chironex fleckeri, the 'Box Jellyfish' and the Irukandji. Both of these are classed as dangerous tropical marine stingers and caution must be exercised when entering tropical waters (defined as those north of Bustard Head) during the 'Marine Stinger season'. Whilst marine stingers may be present throughout the entire year in tropical Queensland, the risk associated with these two types of potentially dangerous jellyfish are higher during the 'Marine Stinger season' that typically runs from November through to May. During these warmer months it is of particular importance to swim only at a patrolled beach under the guidance and supervision of lifesavers and lifeguards.
- Always swim at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags.
- Look for and obey safety signs.
- Don't enter the water when beaches are closed.
- Ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for help and advice if you need it.
- Don't touch marine stingers washed up on the beach, they can still sting you.
- In tropical waters it is also recommended that you take these additional measures.
- Swim in the stinger nets where provided.
- It is recommended that a full-body lycra suit, or equivalent, be worn to provide a good measure of protection against marine stings, particularly during the stinger season, which generally runs from November to March.
- Enter the water slowly - this gives marine stingers time to move away.
Personal Safety RulesSome simple rules for safe swimming apply to help reduce the risk of incidents involving marine stingers:
- Lifesavers and Lifeguards patrol the beaches for your safety and enjoyment. Please swim only at patrolled beaches and between the red and yellow flags.
- Look for, and observe, warning signs.
- Where provided - swim in stinger resistant enclosures.
- Do not interfere with stinger-resistant enclosures (nets), or sit on floating pontoons.
- Swimming enclosures afford a high degree of protection, however, they are stinger resistant not stinger proof. To avoid Irukandji stings check with Lifeguard/Lifesavers.
- Wear protective clothing (wet suit or lycra body suit).
- Don't swim when beaches are closed.
- Enter water slowly (Chironex Box Jellyfish will often swim away from people given the opportunity and time).
- Symptoms for Irukandji stings may take 20-40 minutes to develop, if in doubt seek medical aid.