Expansion of safety initiatives at Boulders

Improved signage, an education campaign, and stronger enforcement are among actions Council will take to improve safety at The Boulders, Babinda.

A safety review at the site was undertaken by Council following several recent drownings in the vicinity.

A report tabled at Council today detailed key findings and made several recommendations to improve safety.

Division 1 Councillor Brett Moller said that Council had made many improvements at the site over the years, and welcomed plans to further enhance safety for visitors.

“Unfortunately, since 1916, there have been 21 recorded deaths at The Boulders, including three tragedies in the past few years,” Cr Moller said.

“Over the past decade, Council has undertaken numerous actions to improve safety.

“This includes the introduction of ‘No Go Zones’, permanently closed area around Devil’s Pool, The Chute and Washing Machine, improved areas where it was safe to swim to deter people from swimming in other areas, installation of warning signs, and extra fencing.

“This latest report has identified five recommendations, which build on Council previous actions, to prevent further tragedies.”

Recommendations are:

  • Improve visitor data collection (installation of basic surveillance equipment, and a visitor and vehicle counter)
  • Improve visitor engagement
  • Site signage improvements (use of signage with targeted and clear messaging about drowning hazards, more promotion of the safe swimming area, and communication of cultural significance of the site)
  • Education and engagement campaign (use of digital and social media, collaboration with tourism operators, interactive messaging about drowning hazards)
  • Enforcement improvements.

Council will now develop a plan to implement the latest recommendations.

The report also found that people aged 18-34 were at most at risk of drowning, the average rainfall in the catchment area is the highest average rainfall in Australia (7,950mm), and that hazards at the site made it extremely dangerous and made it difficult for rescue efforts.

“As always, safety first and foremost means being aware of your surroundings and the potential risks and taking personal responsibility to not put yourself in harm’s way,” Cr Moller added.

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