Take these steps to make sure you enjoy the beach safely!

The leading cause of incidents is due to Rip Currents



Being able to read the swell will help you prepare for what to expect at the beach.


Height – This determines how big the waves will be

Direction – For the North Coast its best straight Northerly

Period – The higher the period the stronger the surf



Being able to read the wind will help you stay safe.


Speed – This determines how strong the wind is

Direction – The angle the wind is blowing

State – this will let you know if its on shore or off shore



Be prepared – do you have all you need for a day at the beach? Consider transportation, money, shade, sunscreen, food, fluid, daily medications if needed, first aid kit, mobile phone, towels, swimwear, buckets, spades, balls etc.


Be aware – there are many risks at the beach including waves, rip tides, weaver fish, cold water shock and more, being informed of these are key to risk management. Always check the conditions, if the wind is too fierce, sea too rough or sun too strong, it may be advisable to reschedule your beach day.


Hydrate – It is important to drink water before going to the beach to fully hydrate and to bring a plentiful supply with you.


Skin protection – sunscreen should be applied before leaving home to allow time for absorption or at least 30 minutes prior to being in the sun, protective clothing and some form of shade is also advisable.


Visibility – ensure your beach camp is easily recognisable, especially if there are children in the group. Setting up near a landmark or the use of a brightly coloured umbrella or tent can be useful ways of achieving this.


Meeting point – arrange an easily identified public place such as a lifeguard station, beach entrance or café, should anyone in the group get lost this can be the meeting point where they can be found.


Beach information – all beaches differ and so do the rules that apply to them individually, it is worthwhile taking time to read all signage relating to the specific beach.


Lifeguards – it is wise to choose a beach patrolled by lifeguards who are trained in spotting danger, prevention of accidents and who can respond quickly in cases of emergency. Speaking with the lifeguards on duty to enquire about potential beach hazards on the day is also advisable.


Hydrate – Both caffeine and alcohol cause dehydration, it is advisable never to drink alcohol at the beach, as it dims thought processes, slows reaction time and greatly raises risk factors. Water is essential, drink plenty to remain well hydrated throughout the day when at the beach.


Skin protection – re-apply regularly throughout the day and always after being in the water. Utilise all forms of shade such as a sun hat, long sleeve top, sunglasses, beach tent and umbrella where appropriate.


Clothing – always wear proper swimwear and do not go into the water in normal clothing as it becomes heavy when wet making it difficult to swim, float or stand in the water.


Flag knowledge – beaches patrolled by lifeguards use flags to convey information which they erect daily and monitor closely. Swimmers, bathers and bodyboarders should stay between the red and yellow flags, while non-powered craft and those on SUP and surfboards should stay between the chequered black and white flags. Flying a red flag indicates danger and the water should be avoided. The orange wind sock denotes no inflatables and strong off shore wind.


Swim in company – it is highly advisable to swim with another person or in a group, if you are in the water on your own always stay between the flags and avoid beaches without lifeguards.


Float – if in difficulty stay calm and try to float by leaning back and using your arms and legs, once your breathing is controlled in this floating position swim to shore if you can or raise your arm and call for help. Do not swim against the current as this will make you tired and it will be more difficult to float.


Emergency situations –always take a mobile phone to the beach, waterproof pouches are useful, allowing you to take your phone into the water. If you cannot swim do not try to help others in difficulty, instead call the lifeguards or emergency services on 999 and ask for the coastguard.


Children – should be accompanied by an adult at all times at the beach both in the water and on the sand.


Tidy up – be responsible, put all rubbish in bins provided or take it home, extinguish any fires you may have lit and fill in any holes you may have dug in the sand. Leave the beach clean, tidy and safe for others.

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