The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has released its safety tips for the summer, urging the public to be careful around water whether at the beach or inland.
‘Our rule number one, for a safe experience at the beach, is to choose a beach that has lifeguards on duty and to swim between their flags.’
If you do that, you don’t need to worry about rip currents, or suddenly getting out of your depth. Putting an arm in the air and waving for help will get a rapid response from the lifeguards on duty.
Here are 12 safety tips to bear in mind this summer:
1. Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty.
Lifeguards are on duty at selected beaches between 10am and 6pm on weekends and during the week during summer school holidays. Listen to their advice and talk to them about safety on the beach that you are visiting. They are the experts on that beach. If lifeguards are not on duty do not swim.
2. Swim between the lifeguard’s flags.
Teach children that if they swim between the lifeguards’ flags the lifeguards will be watching them and can help if there is a problem. Lifeguards watch swimmers very carefully between the flags – just wave an arm if you need help.
3. Don’t drink alcohol and then swim.
It’s illegal to take alcohol onto the beach, but be aware around swimming pools or other bodies of water too, drinking and swimming could cost you your life.
4. Don’t swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.
If you are with a buddy while swimming there is someone who can call for help if you need it and you can’t wave to the lifeguards or call for help yourself.
5. Adult supervision and barriers to water are vital.
Adults who are supervising children in or near water must be able to swim. This is vital if it is at a water body that does not have lifeguards on duty. It is extremely dangerous to get into the water to rescue someone so rather throw something that floats to the person in difficulty and call for help (112 from a cell phone and check for the nearest Sea Rescue station telephone number before you visit a beach – put that number into your cell phone). Children should not be able to get through or over barriers such as pool fences to water. Only use child-safe pool fences and child-safe pool covers or nets.
6. Know how to survive rip currents.
If you swim between the lifeguard flags they will make sure that you are safe and well away from rip currents. If for some reason this is not possible do not swim. Educate yourself about rip currents, there is plenty of educational material here.
7. Don’t attempt a rescue yourself.
Call a lifeguard or the NSRI by dialling 112 from your cell phone for help. If you see someone in difficulty call a lifeguard at once or dial the nearest Sea Rescue station from your cell phone. You should put this number into your phone before you go to the beach – get the emergency numbers for NSRI here, or you can Google for the closest NSRI station emergency number. 112 is a good emergency number – for any emergency – to dial from your cell phone. After calling for help try and throw something that floats to the person in difficulty. A ball, a foam surfboard and so on.
8. Carefully watch children who are using floating objects, toys or tire tubes at the beach or on dams.
Never use these if the wind may blow them away from the shallow water. You can very quickly get blown away from the shore and as much fun as tubes and Styrofoam are it is easy to fall off them. If a child can’t swim and falls off in deep water they will drown.
9. Do not be distracted by your cell phone or social media.
While you are looking after children in or near water you need to focus on them and nothing else. Adults who are supervising children should not be distracted or use their cell phone. It is not possible to concentrate on children in the water and be on your phone at the same time.
10. Learn how to do CPR. Have the emergency numbers saved in your phone.
Make sure you have emergency numbers that you may need saved in your cell phone. Dial 112 from any cell phone in any emergency. Or simply Google Sea Rescue or NSRI for the closest Sea Rescue station’s telephone number.
11. Download NSRI’s free tracking app.
If you are paddling or if you are on a boat, before you launch, download and always use NSRI’s free SafeTrx app.
12. Consider wearing a life jacket
When climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks – never ever turn your back on the sea and we strongly advise rock anglers to wear a lifejacket and know when spring high tide is.