There are a number of hazards to be aware of at the beach.
Tides - the sea reaches its highest level on the shore twice a day which can result in getting cut off whilst exploring. Always check tide times and stay vigilant.
Waves can have different intensity and energy levels which can impact upon a swimmer. Know your limits and never put yourself or others in dangerous waves.
Rip Currents are fast moving and have a high potential to put swimmers at risk by taking them far out to sea. They can be identified by the following characteristics:
- Debris floating
- Waves breaking larger out on both sides of the rip
- Foam on the surface
- Discoloured water usually brown
- A rippled appearance when the rest of water is generally calm.
For further information on Rip Currents please visit: www.ripcurrents.co.uk/site/rip_basics/292/rip_basics.aspx.
Estuaries are partly closed coastal waters with a number of rivers flowing into it. They are extremely hazardous as a result of the fast moving water and currents. Swimming should normally be avoided.
Advice at the Beach
- Be prepared and check the tide times here: http://www.tidetimes.org.uk/#axzz2tfeGCBcz
- Never swim alone
- Supervise children at all times
- Try to swim at lifeguarded beaches
- Avoid alcohol and swimming
- Swim at a depth comfortable and parallel to the beach
- Pay attention to signage, flags and warnings
- Educate your children on the dangers of coastal waters
Key Flag Signs
Remember these key flags:
- Red and Yellow flag - safe to swim in the patrolled area
- Red - no swimming allowed
- Black and white checked flags - no swimming but surfers and windsurfers can still use the water
In an Emergency
Phone 999 and ask for the coastguard.