Lake visitors urged to play it safe during storm season

Visitors to South East Queensland’s lakes and dams should be aware of the risks of changing weather patterns, in particular sudden storms, during summer.

Natural Resources Minister Minister Dr Anthony Lynham, today launched the annual Play it Safe campaign at Lake Kurwongbah with Member for Kurwongbah Shane King and Seqwater chief executive officer Neil Brennan.

Lake Kurwongbah, on Brisbane’s northside, is currently not required as a drinking water supply and is one of south east Queensland’s most popular recreation lakes with fishing, rowing, paddling and skiing.

The campaign, now in its fifth year, aims to raise awareness about the safety risks associated with lakes and other inland waterways.

“Changing weather patterns, particular sudden storms during summer, were a risk for paddlers, swimmers and boaties,’’ Mr King said.

“More than 2.7 million people visit Seqwater’s dams, lakes and parks each year and thousands of them taking part in on-water activities.

"Severe weather events are an unavoidable part of the summer storm season, so it’s important that visitors to our lakes are aware of and quickly respond to changing weather conditions to stay safe.

“Even though the stillness of lakes can create a tranquil and safe feeling, incidents and injury can still happen if visitors get complacent.”

Dr Lynham said summer was the busiest time for Seqwater’s lakes across the region, with particularly large crowds during the Christmas and New Year break.

“The importance of safe aquatic behaviours including checking weather forecasts, obeying speed and distance rules when operating vessels and lifejacket use cannot be overstated,” Dr Lynham said.

“We want everyone to have an enjoyable time and return home safely.”

Seqwater rangers and compliance officers will be working with the Queensland Police Service and other agencies such as Maritime Safety Queensland and Queensland Boating and Fisheries to enforce safe and responsible behaviour on and off the water.

Mr Brennan said visitor safety was a high priority for Seqwater.

“Despite the increased presence at lakes during the busy summer period, Seqwater rangers and police can’t be everywhere, which means people have to take responsibility for their own safety,’’ Mr Brennan said.

“Even if you have visited our lakes before, conditions may have changed.
“Take a minute before you leave home to check out the latest recreation and safety notices and the Bureau of Meteorology weather forecast.’’

The Play it safe campaign runs until the end of April. For more information visit Seqwater.com.au/playitsafe.

Play it safe tips for this summer

Checked the weather? If in doubt, don’t go out.
Weather conditions can change quickly, be aware of your day, plan before you go and check BoM during the summer.

Don’t sink through drink. Under .05 applies on the water.
Don’t put your life or others at risk by operating a boat or jet ski while affected by alcohol or other drugs.

Heading out on the water? Don’t forget your lifejacket.
Lifejackets are a vital piece of safety equipment on your boat or personal watercraft (PWC). Think of them like your seat belt on the water.

Boating or jet skiing? Obey speed and distance rules.
For safety reasons, there are speed and distance rules in place when travelling on the water that visitors need to obey.

Towing a mate? Make sure you have an observer over 13 years old.
You must carry an observer (who is 13 years or more) on board the boat or PWC that is towing someone else. 

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