Freo Doctor drives away  stingers
Wave warning: Cottesloe lifeguard Tim Gregg. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

The Fremantle Doctor is to thank for driving hordes of stingers from WA's coastline this year, more than halving the number of beach injuries.

Surf Lifesaving WA operations manager Chris Peck said southerly and south-westerly winds had flushed most stingers out to sea, reducing the number of minor stings at swimming hotspots such as Cottesloe beach.

Mr Peck said first aid treatments administered by lifeguards had dropped from 5000 in the first three months of last year to 2000 for the same time this year.

"There was a substantial amount of minor marine stings last year, in fact threefold compared to this year," he said.

Last year, lifesavers reported a horror year for stingers. Some were swallowed by beachgoers, causing respiratory problems.

Lifeguards had freezers packed full of ice treatments on standby this year but Mr Peck said the wind direction was keeping jellyfish away from beaches.

But while stingers are less prevalent, lifeguards at wave beaches such as Scarborough, Trigg and Floreat have reported a 20 per cent increase in the number of body surfers or surfers with dislocations and fractures in the strong surf.

The number of surfers injured by sharp board fins has more than doubled since last year.

Cottesloe lifeguard Tim Gregg said the "strong shore dump" had caught out many swimmers.

"We're seeing a lot more dislocations because of it this year," he said. The number of swimmers that lifesavers have stopped from getting into danger on WA's beachers has decreased from 17,000 from January to March last year to 14,000 this year.

Mr Peck said the result was "hugely promising" after a record 17 drownings were recorded off the WA coast last year.

"It seems West Australians have got on board with coastal safety and are becoming savvier beachgoers," he said.

He said anglers were overrepresented in drowning statistics and should wear appropriate footwear to avoid slipping.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Change location

°

- °

Lifestyle Videos

Follow Us

More from The West