Remember the F-L-A-G-S and stay safe this summer…
F Find the flags and swim between them - the red and yellow flags mark the safest place to swim at the beach which is patrolled by lifesavers.
L Look at the safety signs – you will find these between the flags. These signs will help you identify potential dangers and daily conditions at the beach.
A Ask a surf lifesaver for some good advice - surf conditions can change quickly so talk to a surf lifesaver or lifeguard before entering the water.
G Get a friend to swim with you - so you can look out for each other's safety and get help if needed.
S Stick your hand up for help - if you get into trouble in the water, stay calm, raise your arm to signal for help. Float with a current or rip - don't try and swim against it.
Remember you should never, ever:
· Swim at unpatrolled beaches
· Swim at night
· Swim in you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
· Run and dive into the water – if you hit a sand bar head first you be paralyzed or die
· Swim right after eating –
And don’t forget to be sun smart and Slip, Slop, Slap: Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen and Slap on a hat!
The Surf Environment
A rip is a strong current beginning around the shore, extending through the surf and running out to sea. Rips are the cause of most rescues performed at beaches. Rips can be dangerous as they can carry a swimmer or wader out into deep water in a matter of seconds.
Identifying a Rip
One or more of following features might alert you to the presence of a rip:
- darker colour, indicating deeper water
- murky brown water caused by sand stirred up off the bottom
- smoother surface with much smaller waves, alongside white water (broken waves)
- waves breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip
- debris floating out to sea
- a rippled look, when the water around is generally calm
Escaping from a Rip
If you are caught in a rip:
- Don't Panic - stay calm.
- Float with the current, don't fight it and signal for assistance. If you are a confident swimmer, swim parallel to the shore until you reach the breaking wave zone, then try and swim back to shore.
- If you don’t think you can swim parallel to the shore away from the rip, stay calm, float with the rip and signal for assistance.
- Remember to stay calm and conserve your energy.