Tragic water accidents at the sea happen quickly, mostly due to a lack of safety knowledge. The following tips cover water safety as well as protection measures to take whilst on the beach:
- Read and obey the beach regulations and follow instructions or advice from lifeguards.
- Report hazardous conditions or incidents to lifeguards or other beach personnel.
- Make sure you know how to swim if entering the sea.
- Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard – usually in a zone between two red and yellow flags.
- Never swim alone.
- Swim parallel to the shore if you wish to swim a long distance.
- Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present. A personal flotation device is recommended for children.
- If caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free and don’t swim against the current’s pull.
- Don’t dive into unfamiliar waters – what may seem deep could be very shallow. Feet-first is safer.
- Avoid swimming near rocks, piers, jetties, groynes and breakwaters.
- If you are in trouble in the sea, shout or wave for help.
- Scuba dive only if trained and certified.
- Do not drink alcohol before or during swimming, diving or boating. Alcohol impairs your judgement, balance, coordination and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
- Do not take drink glasses, glass bottles or glass containers to the beach as they can break and pose a threat to bare feet.
- Wear foot protection on unclean, rocky or hot sand beaches.
- Do not light fires on the beach except in designated areas.
- Stay clear of coastal dune cliffs as they can collapse suddenly.
- Protect your skin from over exposure to UVA and UVB rays by wearing water-proof sunscreen with a high protection factor of 20+. Avoid the sun between the hottest times of the day: 11:00 – 15:00.
- Wear eye protection, good quality sunglasses protect against UV rays.
- Drink plenty of water regularly to avoid dehydration even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool and to replace lost salts through sweating.
- Watch for signs of heat stroke which is life-threatening. The body’s temperature can rise too high due to poor sweating. Signs include hot, red and dry skin, rapid and weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing. Move to a cooler place, cool the body down and seek medical help.
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