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beach safety - swim between the flags

Understanding the ocean is very important - the more you know about how waves, wind and tides affect conditions in the water, the better able you are to keep yourself safe, or even rescue others, from danger.

Recognising danger signs and awareness of surf conditions is an essential part of lifesaving.  Always swim between the flags and if you are unsure of the beach conditions always check with the lifesavers on duty.  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.

L Look at the safety signs - they 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. Children should always be supervised by an adult.

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.

And remember never:

Never swim at unpatrolled beaches
Never ever swim at night
Never swim under the influence of alcohol
Never run and dive into the water
Never swim directly after a meal

 

The Surf Environment

Rips - A rip is a strong current running out to sea. Rips are the cause of most rescues performed at beaches. A rip usually occurs when a channel forms between the shore and a sandbar, and large waves have built up water which then returns to sea, causing a drag effect. The larger the surf, the stronger the rip. Rips are dangerous as they can carry a weak or tired swimmer out into deep water.

Identifying a Rip - The following features will 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

Always swim between the flags and if you are unsure of the beach conditions always check with the lifesavers on duty. 

 

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