If you see the red and yellow flags on a beach, you know there are currently lifeguards on patrol within that section. Lifeguards concentrate on this area to ensure your time at the beach is a safe one.
Check for any additional signage the lifeguards may have erected. There may be additional information you need to know about swimming between the flags. If you are not confident you understand any signage, approach a lifeguard to clarify what they mean. They are highly trained in beach safety and conditions.
Swimming with a friend is another added safety measure while at the beach. Always keep an eye on each other and know each other’s swimming abilities. If you either of you start to tire, head back to shore and have a rest.
If you find yourself in trouble, stay calm. Raise your arm in the air and wave until you have attracted someone’s attention. If possible, float on your back to conserve your energy until help arrives.
Things to be aware of at the beach include:
Rips/Currents: A rip current is a strong current that starts at the shore and runs out to sea. Some of the indications there is a rip current are darker water, murky water, choppy or rippled look, lack of breaking waves, foam or debris floating out to sea.
There are others indicating a rip current so it is best to talk to the lifeguards on duty for clarification.
Red and Yellow Flag: Lifeguards on duty
Red Flag: Beach closed
Black and White Quartered Flag: Board riding and surfing is not permitted
Yellow Flag: Potential hazards are in the water. For further advice, check the yellow warning sign located near this flag.
Red and White Quartered Flag: Emergency evacuation. Leave the water immediately.
There are many signs other than flags that can be displayed at the beach. Check with the lifeguards on duty for clarification of these.
Dehydration and Sunburn
Excessive time in the sun without sunscreen can later lead to skin cancer. To help minimise this, apply SPF30+ sunscreen at least 15 minutes before venturing out into the sun. Reapply sunscreen every two hours to maintain maximum effect. Try to avoid the hours between 10am and 3pm when the sun is at it’s hottest. Wear long sleeved clothing while sitting on the beach. Wear a wide brimmed hat as much as you can and UV rated sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Always take water with you to the beach and make sure you drink it during your stay. Dehydration is caused through loss of water through your skin and will result in headaches and fatigue. Avoid this by staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid alcohol and soft drinks as these can dehydrate you more.
The beach is not the place to drink alcohol. It impairs your judgement, coordination and reaction time.
Always ensure your child/ren are with arm’s reach while at the beach especially while in the water. The surf is unpredictable and strong which means it can easily knock your children and even yourself off your feet resulting in being swept out to sea.