Playing safe this summer on Queensland’s waterways

Jack Taylor Weir

Recreational dam and lake users are being urged to take care this summer as wet conditions continue to impact waterways across regional Queensland.

With rising water levels at many of Sunwater’s water storages, underwater hazards and rapidly changing conditions may present a serious safety risk.

The warning comes ahead of an expected busy holiday season, with thousands of Queenslanders eager to make the most of recreational waterways. The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting wetter than average conditions across the state for this wet season.

Sunwater Executive General Manager Operations Colin Bendall encouraged holidaymakers and boaties to keep safety front-of-mind while having fun at a dam, lake or weir.

“It’s been pleasing to have received some good rain in recent weeks but that can bring with it dangerous and unpredictable conditions,” he said. “No matter how well you know a waterway, it’s important to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings as water conditions can change very quickly.

“While things may appear calm on the surface, there may be hidden dangers in the water that can cause serious harm, such as tree stumps and rocks.”

Boat users should obey speed limits, signs and understand the risks of operating their vessel. Those intending to tow water skiers should check that the water is deep enough and free from floating or underwater hazards.

Swimmers should be aware of their abilities as strong currents and undertows can be present. Additionally, underwater hazards can move with the currents, and may be in areas previously thought to be safe.

Regional Queenslanders can check local dam levels, safety alerts and key information about recreational areas via the Sunwater App, Facebook and Twitter, and the Sunwater website – www.sunwater.com.au.

Boat skippers should check signs, monitor conditions, and visit the Maritime Safety Queensland website for the latest speed restrictions on inland waterways before entering the water.

Sunwater encourages all visitors to check things out before they get in the water:

  • Check the signs – they contain important information about water, recreational activities, potential hazards, blue-green algae levels, and no-go zones
  • Check conditions – weather and water conditions can change quickly so it’s important to stay alert
  • Check of hazards – hidden dangers such as logs, pipes and rocks can be under the water surface and can be exposed at different water levels.
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