Marine stinger nets - have your say!

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Thank you for your interest. Consultation has concluded.

Boathaven Beach marine stinger net


Marine stinger nets are a product developed in North Queensland to protect ocean swimmers, by acting as a physical deterrent and barrier to Box Jellyfish and other large marine wildlife.

Whitsunday Regional Council currently has two marine stinger nets in operation at the popular swimming locations of Cannonvale Beach and Boathaven Beach (also known as New Beach) in Airlie Beach.

In May 2020, Council was considering the renewal of the stinger nets for 2020-2021 and were looking for your feedback on continuing this service. After consultation finished, the Consultation Report was presented and considered by Council at the Ordinary Meeting on 23 June 2020. Council voted to extend the stinger net hire agreement at both Cannonvale and Boathaven Beach, until 2023, during the peak seasons of November to May each year.


The Facts

  1. Marine stinger nets do not protect from smaller marine life - such as Irukandji, a group of jellyfish which are known to cause symptoms of a potentially dangerous syndrome called Irukandji Syndrome. Stinger nets cannot prevent the smaller Irukandji from entering the enclosure. This is due to the fact that the holes in the netting cannot be made any smaller as the nets would clog too quickly and have to be removed for cleaning several times a day. It is therefore important that you exercise caution when swimming in stinger enclosures.
  2. Marine stinger nets do protect from larger marine animals - such as the Box Jellyfish, who are good swimmers and avoid obstacles and entrapment wherever possible.
  3. You can be stung at any time of the year - Some experts prefer not to use the term 'stinger season' as this implies that jellyfish are only prevalent during this time. Stings have occurred at all times of the year, however are more prevalent during the months of October to May. October to May is therefore termed 'high season' or 'peak season' for marine stingers as they are more active and more numerous during this time.
  4. What are my chances of getting stung by an Irukandji? - Rare. Out of the millions of 'people days' each year in the Great Barrier Reef waters, in a particularly bad year, only around 100 Irukandji stings occur in Queensland which require medical treatment.
  5. Some nets may only usable at certain times of the day - On shallow beaches like Cannonvale Beach the net may not be usable at certain times of the day during low-tide, however at Boathaven Beach the net is available all day.
  6. The nets are only installed at certain times of the year - Council follows the stinger net protocol set forth by James Cook University, Surf Lifesaving Queensland and Uninet Enclosure Systems about when is the best time to install a stinger net.
  7. The nets cost Council money to install and maintain every year - It costs Council approximately $30,000 for each net, which includes the net installation plus ongoing maintenance costs or repair costs after damaging weather events.


Marine stinger nets are a product developed in North Queensland to protect ocean swimmers, by acting as a physical deterrent and barrier to Box Jellyfish and other large marine wildlife.

Whitsunday Regional Council currently has two marine stinger nets in operation at the popular swimming locations of Cannonvale Beach and Boathaven Beach (also known as New Beach) in Airlie Beach.

In May 2020, Council was considering the renewal of the stinger nets for 2020-2021 and were looking for your feedback on continuing this service. After consultation finished, the Consultation Report was presented and considered by Council at the Ordinary Meeting on 23 June 2020. Council voted to extend the stinger net hire agreement at both Cannonvale and Boathaven Beach, until 2023, during the peak seasons of November to May each year.


The Facts

  1. Marine stinger nets do not protect from smaller marine life - such as Irukandji, a group of jellyfish which are known to cause symptoms of a potentially dangerous syndrome called Irukandji Syndrome. Stinger nets cannot prevent the smaller Irukandji from entering the enclosure. This is due to the fact that the holes in the netting cannot be made any smaller as the nets would clog too quickly and have to be removed for cleaning several times a day. It is therefore important that you exercise caution when swimming in stinger enclosures.
  2. Marine stinger nets do protect from larger marine animals - such as the Box Jellyfish, who are good swimmers and avoid obstacles and entrapment wherever possible.
  3. You can be stung at any time of the year - Some experts prefer not to use the term 'stinger season' as this implies that jellyfish are only prevalent during this time. Stings have occurred at all times of the year, however are more prevalent during the months of October to May. October to May is therefore termed 'high season' or 'peak season' for marine stingers as they are more active and more numerous during this time.
  4. What are my chances of getting stung by an Irukandji? - Rare. Out of the millions of 'people days' each year in the Great Barrier Reef waters, in a particularly bad year, only around 100 Irukandji stings occur in Queensland which require medical treatment.
  5. Some nets may only usable at certain times of the day - On shallow beaches like Cannonvale Beach the net may not be usable at certain times of the day during low-tide, however at Boathaven Beach the net is available all day.
  6. The nets are only installed at certain times of the year - Council follows the stinger net protocol set forth by James Cook University, Surf Lifesaving Queensland and Uninet Enclosure Systems about when is the best time to install a stinger net.
  7. The nets cost Council money to install and maintain every year - It costs Council approximately $30,000 for each net, which includes the net installation plus ongoing maintenance costs or repair costs after damaging weather events.
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Please write you question here and our team will respond to you. What you write can be viewed by everyone. 

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Hi, This webpage says "What you write can be viewed by everyone." I sent a comment on the number box jellyfish deaths compared to Irukandji on the 1/6/20, why hasn't it been posted?

    HiFromClay asked 6 months ago

    Hi HiFromClay, thanks for your patience. We are here to answer questions about the stinger net installation however we cannot give you the information you are seeking. Please try contacting the relevant authorities on this issue. Thanks, WRC Team

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    If Surf life QLD provides a their service at “Bowen at no cost to council“, why is this not also used at Cannonvale & new beach? Why employ Splash pools if as you say Surf Life QLD is at no cost?

    quest2sea asked 6 months ago

    Hi Quest2sea, Queensland Surf Lifesaving carry out the operation at Horseshoe Bay Bowen as a service to the community with no involvement by Council. Thanks, WRC Team

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    Why does council provide life guards at Bowen but not Airlie?

    quest2sea asked 6 months ago

    Hi Quest2sea, the stingers nets are checked daily by Council for signs of visual change and any necessary repairs are reported to the stinger net provider. Cannonvale Beach “dries out” at low tide enabling inspections to take place. The stinger nets at Boathaven Beach are taken down and thoroughly checked every two months and this is increased in the instance of bad weather, for e.g. a monsoon or cyclone. Regarding lifeguard services, these are provided by Royal Lifesaving at no cost to Council in Bowen. The Royal Lifesavers do not operate in Airlie Beach. 

    Thanks, WRC Team

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    Why does this have to be so hard x Ours are the most expensive rates in Qld next to the GC surely there’s enough in the coffers to cover the nets. We have 8 to 9 months of hot weather here and so many use them. To me it’s a no brainer. Please leave the Cannonvale net right where it is.

    Maria asked 6 months ago

    Hi Maria, Thank you for your feedback and make sure you complete the survey on this page to have your say before consultation closes on 12 June. Thanks, WRC Team

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    Hi, are more people killed by larger box jellyfish stings or Irukandji Syndrome?

    HiFromClay asked 6 months ago

    Hi HifromClay, Council is not an expert on this and we take advice from the relevant authorities. We'd suggest you have a look at the information on the Queensland Government's website - https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/recreation/dangerous-marine and the Surf life Saving Queensland  website - http://www.marinestingers.com.au/  

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    Hi Whitsunday Regional Council website says: Stinger nets/enclosures are very effective at preventing the more dangerous Box Jellyfish (Chrionex fleckeri) from entering the enclosure. Data has shown that box jellyfish stings have dropped significantly since stinger nets were introduced. https://www.whitsunday.qld.gov.au/408/Marine-stingers Uninet who supplies the nets says: The netting acts as the physical and deterrent barrier to the Box Jellyfish which are good swimmers and avoid obstacles and entrapment wherever possible. http://uninet.com.au/products.html Your “Facts” above say: Marine stinger nets do protect from larger marine animals - such as the Box Jellyfish, who are good swimmers and avoid obstacles and entrapment wherever possible. Which is fact?

    HiFromClay asked 6 months ago

    Hi HifromClay, yes we agree with the facts as written on our website and Your Say Whitsunday. Marine stinger nets DO protect from larger marine animals such as the Box Jellyfish. However they do not protect against the Irukandji, who are small enough to fit through gaps in the net. 

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    Council uses QLD surf life saving to patrol Horse shoe bay ,who monitor , drag & check the flagged swimming area. Why does the same duty of care not apply at Airlie? Is there any active daily monitoring / sampling of Airlies swimming enclosures?

    quest2sea asked 6 months ago

    Currently there is not a similar organisation which operates in Airlie Beach or Cannonvale. While daily lifeguard supervision is not undertaken at Boathaven or Cannonvale Beaches, inspections are undertaken of the stinger nets by Council and the stinger net provider to ensure they are safe and well maintained.