‘Very stupid’: Lifeguard warns swimmers after deadly box jellyfish spotted

A Queensland lifeguard has issued a warning after a man was photographed swimming in the same area a deadly box jellyfish was spotted at a popular marina.

The jellyfish, believed to be more than 20cm in size across the top with long trailing tentacles, was spotted at Breakwater Marina in Townsville on Saturday morning by a member of the public, who also uploaded an image of someone swimming at the same spot.

While the box jellyfish and irukandji breeding season is nearing its end, Surf Life Saving Queensland lifeguard supervisor Russell Blanchard told Yahoo7 News it was still “very stupid” to be swimming outside the two designated enclosures at the marina.

“As soon as their tentacles get activated by water, they become extremely dangerous,” Mr Russell explained.

Mr Russell said it was still very dangerous to be swimming outside of netted enclosures without protective swimwear. Source: Instagram/Jay Greenwood
The box jellyfish is believed to be more than 20cm in size. Source: Instagram/Jay Greenwood

“They’re the most powerful toxins known to man. If you get enough tentacle matter on your body, if you get a major sting in the body… it can be lethal.”

Mr Russell said the box jellyfish season was coming to an end as the water reduces in temperature but reiterated that swimmers should not let their guard down.

“You’re just as likely to get stung in knee-deep water as much as you are when the water is over your head,” he added.

“We strongly advise swimmers [outside the enclosures] to continue to wear full lycra stinging suits at this time of the year.”

With a lifespan of just 150 days, Mr Russell also warned beachgoers to be on the lookout for dead jellyfish as they begin to wash up onto shores.