Follow on Shark attack at Kingscliff. The scene of the fatal shark attack South of Kingscliff. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Follow on Shark attack at Kingscliff. The scene of the fatal shark attack South of Kingscliff. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

Tourniquets could be a lifesaving surfing device

A MARINE expert who dives with tiger sharks says there's plenty of merit to the suggestion surfers could be well served carrying tourniquets while in the water.

The idea was floated on online surfing social media forums in the wake of the fatal attack at Kingscliff this week that claimed the life of Rob Pedretti.

Parrearra-based marine science teacher and shark advocate Tony Isaacson said the idea of surfers carrying tourniquets was not new, and he said most surfers essentially had one in the form of a leg rope.

He said basic first-aid training and skills in applying tourniquets would be valuable or surfers, so they had some skills in the event of a shark-human interaction.

Mr Isaacson said government-subsidised electronic shark devices could also be rolled out, especially for surfers on point breaks or at remote and isolated beaches.

Tony Isaacson.
Tony Isaacson.

He said he still thought nothing could stop a "dedicated ambush by a mature white shark" but the devices had been proven to reduce the severity of a bite.

Mr Isaacson said white sharks usually took a bite then waited for their prey to bleed out, so there was "usually a window of opportunity" to apply a tourniquet and give a victim a chance of survival.

He said white shark behaviour was more unpredictable than a tiger shark.

"It's common sense to have something used as a tourniquet and that can include rashies," he said.

"With appropriate guidance that can be applied to somebody and prevent them dying from blood loss."

Former pro surfer and Alexandra Headland lifeguard Shane Bevan said he felt it might be time for a cull, to curb the growing shark populations.

He said sightings were increasing at Double Island Point.

Veteran surfer Shane Bevan. Picture: SURFING QUEENSLAND
Veteran surfer Shane Bevan. Picture: SURFING QUEENSLAND

He said leg ropes could be used as a makeshift tourniquet, but he felt more satellite or emergency phones could be installed along the coast, particularly at the elevated beaches like Coolum, to help with securing assistance in the event of emergencies.

Fellow ex-professional and well-known surfing coach Robbie Sherwell said leg ropes would work just as well, as they were more solid than a tourniquet.

He said great white shark numbers had exploded in the past 30 years, and as fish stocks became more depleted, humans would be at further risk.

Robbie Sherwell. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Robbie Sherwell. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

He also thought a certain amount of sharks should be culled a year, to try and better balance the marine environment.

Mr Sherwell said he thought swimming lessons and senior first aid should be taught at school.


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