Keeping Safe at the Beach
Days out at the beach sit fondly within the heart of many of us as they bring back nostalgic childhood memories of donkey rides, sandcastle competitions and Mr Whippy ice creams. This is the reason why many families choose to relive their memories with their own children and organize a trip to the beach. Although a beach trip or holiday is a great idea, there are many safety issues to think about before you embark on your trip.
More than 16,000 people are assisted every year on UK beaches alone, with nearly two thirds of those incidents concerning children.* Strong water currents can quickly turn paddling, swimming, water inflatables and body-boarding into a complete nightmare so it is important that you know how to stay safe at the beach! Read our tips and advice to find out more...
- Check that your beach has a lifeguard present. If you need help or assistance, either from an injury or water related incident, there will be someone readily at hand on the scene to help you out quickly. If you are swimming or body-boarding always stay within the red and yellow markers as this is where the lifeguards patrol. The lifeguards will move the markers accordingly throughout the day based on weather conditions and current, so by staying within the area, you'll know what parts of the water are safe and which are not.
- Upon your arrival at the beach, look out for signs and safety advice. In some destinations abroad, there are jellyfish that swim around beached areas as well as other general advice on hazards. It is important that you take note and follow the advice accordingly. If travelling with children, make sure that you also tell them of the hazards to look out for.
- Carry a small first aid kit with you that include things like tweezers, eye wash, plasters, antibacterial cream and dressings. Slips, falls and cut fingers are all too common and having a first aid kit with you can be very helpful in these situations!
- Dehydration and exposure to hot sunshine don't mix very well, potentially resulting in dizziness, vomiting and a general sense of feeling unwell. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and invest in additional protection against the sun such as a hat, sunglasses, sun cream and parasol.
- Never swim in the sea alone and have a 'buddy' to help you if needed.
- Supervise children at all times and never let them wander off alone. Sometimes the idea of bathing whilst your children collect seashells can all be too tempting, however you need to be with them at all times for safety and security.
- Know your flags! Red and yellow flags indicate areas patrolled by lifeguards. Black and white checkered flags are designated watersports areas - you should never swim here. Orange windsocks indicate offshore winds - never use inflatables when the sock is flying as you can be swept out by strong currents very easily. Red flags mean that the water is dangerous - stay clear of the water completely when you see this flag.
- In some countries, salesmen visit the beach in the hope to sell items to unsuspecting tourists. Always be careful and extra vigilant with these kinds of people as sometimes the items they are selling are not always what they same (for example, tour tickets and river boat cruises may not be 100% legitimate).
- Never bring your valuables to the beach, as it is simply not worth it if they get damaged or stolen. Burying your belongings under the sand is not a good idea, as they are still not secure, imagine if you forgot where you buried them! Leave your valuables at home or locked in a hotel safe, that way you can simply enjoy your trip without having to worry.
* Royal National Lifeboat Survey, 2012Do you have any tricks or tips for beach safety or have you spotted we've missed something out? You can always let us know so that we can add it to our list - you never know, you may be able to help others with your advice! Please share and like this article if you found it to be interesting and helpful.