CYCLONE WATCH: Boaties, swimmers urged to exercise caution
BOATIES and swimmers have been warned to be careful while in or on the water as the cyclone threat continues off the coast of Queensland.
John Smith, commodore of Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay, said a plan was in place in case the region was affected by Cyclone Oma.
"We're always ready for emergencies like that," he said.
If the cyclone started to threaten the Fraser Coast, Mr Smith said crews would be ready to go if help was needed.
"We'll certainly be ready if it ramps up. If it does we will put a crew on standby.
"We have crews rostered on 24/7 but if the weather does get worse we will actually put a crew on standby."
Mr Smith said the organisation was part of the region's disaster management group and was getting regular updates regarding the cyclone.
"We formulate what we are going to do based on the latest information," he said.
At the moment a strong wind warning is in place for Thursday, with winds between 25 and 30 knots predicted at this stage.
"That will make the bay very choppy and uncomfortable and obviously outside the bay it will be a lot worse," Mr Smith said.
On Saturday, winds up to 40 knots were expected.
"No one should be going out in that," he said.
Closer to shore, Craig Holden, the Wide Bay-Capricorn regional manager of Surf Life Saving Queensland, urged people to take care while in the water.
While Hervey Bay could expect protection from Fraser Island, the main concern would be tidal currents.
With the highest tides of the year expected over the next few days, swimmers needed to be mindful of that, Mr Holden said.
If the cyclone was to hit to the south or north of the region, it could cause waves and choppy conditions in the Bay, Mr Holden said.
On the eastern side of Fraser Island, people needed to be particularly careful, he said.
"There will be an increased and quite large swell if the forecast remains how it is," Mr Holden said.
"It will certainly be extremely dangerous on those beaches.
"Use your commonsense - if it looks like it's dangerous or remotely treacherous, don't go in. If you're thinking twice about having a swim, don't do it."
Mr Holden said people should swim at patrolled beaches between the flags.
"We could see beach closures," he said.
"We will monitor it on a daily basis."