Gold Coast Safety Information
Make sure you get your travel insurance sorted before you travel. Don't underestimate how important it is to have yourself and your family covered. Photocopy your policy and leave a copy with a friend or relative at home and take one copy with you.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, a broad-brimmed hat, and take care to apply sunscreen to exposed skin. Reapply sunscreen after two hours, especially if you have been in the water.
Avoid being outside in the middle of the day and take care to drink plenty of water in the warmer months.
- Always swim or surf at patrolled beaches.
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags.
- Always swim under supervision.
- Read and obey the signs.
- If you are unsure of surf conditions, ask a lifeguard.
- Do not venture out far if swimming in a yellow flagged area. Yellow flags stand for 'Caution'.
- Do not swim alone or at beaches that are not patrolled by lifesavers.
- Do not swim immediately after a meal.
- Do not swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not swim if the beach is closed. Red flags will indicate 'Danger'.
- Never run or dive in the water, even if you have checked before, as water conditions can change.
- If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm. Raise one arm to signal for help, float and wait for lifeguard assistance.
- Learn how to spot a rip and keep clear of it. A rip can be spotted by the presence of sand-coloured or rippled water moving out to sea where the water on either side is generally cleaner. The waves may also be larger and breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip.
- If you are caught in a rip, stay calm and raise one arm to signal for help, or swim diagonally across the rip rather than struggling against it.
- Keep the beach clean, put your rubbish in a bin and keep off the duned areas. They are there to preserve the beach environment.
Visitors to Australia are often more fearful of sharks than anything else in the country. This fear is exaggerated and unnecessary. The 'JAWS' movies of the 1980s spread misleading information to the western world, portraying sharks as highly dangerous creatures with a bloodlust for humans.
The reality is vastly different. The chances of encountering a shark at a beach in Queensland, let alone being attacked by one, are so low it is barely worth mentioning. With less than one shark attack per year in Australia, there is more chance of a piano falling from a high-rise building and squashing a pedestrian.
Though it is true that sharks are predators, humans are not among their natural prey. Despite this, shark nets are prevalent at many popular beaches along the Queensland coastline. Baits and large nets lie offshore and are checked every two days for sharks.
To help avoid the possibility of a shark attack, here are some commonsense rules to follow:
- Always heed the warnings of lifeguards at the beach
- Do not swim at night
- Do not swim in murky waters
- Do not swim in the Gold Coast canals
- Do not swim if you are bleeding
- Do not throw food scraps into the water
- If fishing, do not discard fish scraps or guts into waters where people swim