Beach Safety in Australia
Beach Safety in Australia
There is no denying that Australian's love to swim and they love the beach, so generally it is a summer tradition to head to the nearest sand covered area and have a dip and day out. But a beach can be a dangerous place, so you should always be careful whenever you are there, especially if you have young children with you. Here are 10 tips to help keep you safe on your next beach adventure, remembering they may just save your life.
- Try to avoid swimming at a beach if they do not have any lifeguards on them. Obviously sometimes this cannot be avoided due to the area you may be in, but as a rule try and ensure there is at least some form or people at the beach to help in the event of an emergency.
- Never swim outside the flags! This is common sense, but some people never realise this until it's too late. The flags are placed on the beach for a reason as that is the safest area of the beach to swim at so make sure you observe them and all other relevant sings at the beach.
- Don't swim straight after eating or if you have had alcohol. Feeling bloated or intoxicated in anyway will hamper your swimming ability and it could be a major issue should an emergency occur.
- If the beach is closed, then it is closed for a reason so never swim at a beach with red flags or 'beach closed' signs up. Again, this is common sense.
- Do not swim at a beach where there are no flags at all. This may be difficult depending on your area but always try your best to do so.
- If you get caught in a rip, don't panic or try and swim against it! Simply stop doing anything and place your hand in the air so you may be rescued.
- If you suffer a cramp, again, don't panic or struggle. Raise your hand to get the attention of a lifeguard
- If there is a yellow flag up then don't go out too far. It means the surf is dangerous and only experienced swimmers and surfers should attempt to go out further.
- If you are unsure of the conditions, then speak to a lifeguard who will be able to tell you more about them.
- When caught in a rip, swim parallel to the shore. This will help get you into a safer area.
Beach Safety for Kids in Australia
Kids love the beach, there is no denying that. However a beach is a dangerous place with numerous dangers lurking around the corner that have the potential in making a trip to the beach one that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Your children will no doubt be full of all kinds of energy and ready to play in the sand, the water and in just about anything they can find but as their parent it is up to you to keep a watchful eye on them and make sure they stay out of danger as best as they can. Remember you are the adult and you set the examples so a lot of the time they will follow your lead in what you do when you are at the beach. We have compiled a list of some examples to help you out when you next take your kids to the beach.
Safety in the Surf
The most obvious factor to remember when at a beach with lifeguards and flags is to always swim between them and never go too far away from where lifeguards can see you. The lifeguards are there for your children's safety and keep a lookout on the beach at all times to ensure that everyone who is swimming on the beach is safe. In no way should your children muck around and pretend to be in danger as this wastes the valuable time of the lifeguards and could potentially land them in lots of trouble. Make sure your children know this and make sure your children know to stay within the flags and not to go too far away from the lifeguard post either. Some common knowledge taught to them before they swim will help them better understand this.
Waves can come in fast and hard and it's important you teach your children how to swim and react in the surf and waves. Lifeguards will not keep a beach open if the waves are too big and dangerous but if you are unsure of this then you should talk to the lifeguards about the waves and whether or not it is safe to swim. If you do feel unsure then why not go for a swim with your child to keep an eye on them? This is a great idea if your kids have no experience with waves at all and you want to teach them first hand how to react around them so put on your bathers and head out with them!
Getting caught in a rip
This is generally a fairly scary experience and one in which your child may have the urge to panic in and attempt to beat the rip. The first point to remember is to never panic and never swim against the rip as you will have your child tire themselves out before they can even attempt to be rescued. You should get your child to stop everything and just raise their hand in the air so that the lifeguard can see them and assist them immediately. You will notice your child will no doubt be taken by the direction of the rip but the lifeguard will come out to their assistance so that it won't take your child too far. If you are unsure of the rip in the water and don't want to risk it, then don't swim at that beach.
A shark at a beach is generally a rare occurrence however you should always teach your kids they are a possibility without scaring them too much. The lifeguards will have a loud siren which warns people when a shark has been spotted so if your child hears the siren get them to swim to shore straight away and don't delay! It's always best to be ahead of these situations before they turn bad. You should never attempt to go out and rescue your child, if the worst happens then that is what the lifeguard is there for.
Depending on where you are swimming, you can find jellyfish are a major problem at some beaches. If you are taking your children to a beach in far north Queensland between the months of November and April you will probably find a large amount of beaches will be closed due to deadly stingers in the area. These box jellyfish can kill so only stick to designated safe beaches in this time. Another deadly jellyfish is the bluebottle and you may find that your child is drawn to them due to their blue colour and fascinating appearance. Always warn your child away from them as they can be deadly also.
A no brainier when at the beach, make sure you slip, slop and slap your child with as much protection as possible. Australia has a high skin cancer rate that ranks up there as some of the worst in the world and in spending all day in the sun you risk the exposure to the sun a great deal more than you would in other places. The lifeguard hut will generally have sunscreen for you should you need it but you should always have your own and come prepared. A great idea is a small sunshade hut for the beach so you can protect yourself if you are on the beach watching your kids, and it will also provide some added shade if it is a very hot day when you are there. Safety is always the key.
A trip to the beach should never turn out to be a deadly one, so closely follow these steps to provide you and your kids with a fun yet safe day at the beach. You can always find out more information too online and by contacting your local lifesaving organisation who can provide you with a great deal of information when it comes to beach safety for your children. Who knows? It may just save your child's life.