Staying safe on the beach this summer

Staying Safe at the Beach This Summer...

Here are some top tips on staying safe on the beach, not just in the summer, but any time of the year. 

Rips

Rips ( also known as rip currents) are a body of water trying to find a path of least resistance out to sea. They form as the tide is pushed in and out and are most commonly found by rocks, in-between sand banks, and where rivers join the sea. They are not always easy to spot which is why they can be so dangerous. Quite often it’s the part of the sea which has the least waves which tempts people in for a swim and then sweeps them out to sea.   

The main thing to remember: Don’t Panic. If you have a bodyboard or a surf board STAY ON IT. Let yourself drift with the water; eventually the water will ease and you can then swim away from the rip and back to shore. Don’t try and swim against the rip.

Flags

Flags are used to mark out the safest zones for swimmers and surfers. It really helps if you can understand what the flags mean on the beach. If you forget the Lifeguards are always happy to have a chat and point you in the right direction.

Although you might be a strong swimmer and feel that you are confident to swim outside of the flags that could encourage other weaker swimmers or children to go in, this could then end with them getting into trouble and not being seen. 

Tides

The speed at which the tides move in Cornwall always catches people out. It has one of the biggest tidal movements in the world.

In one day we have two high and two low tides, some are bigger than others, which are effected by the gravitational pull by the sun and moon. Between one low and one high tide is just over 6 hours. The lifeguards are trained to know how far they will come up, so if you are worried you will get caught between cliffs, and therefore cut off by the tide, ensure you have a chat with a lifeguard or somebody local to the area. 

It can also be helpful to look for the high tide line on the beach; this will give you an indication on how high the tide came the day before. 

Climbing cliffs

Although it can be fun to climb over rocks and explore in rock pools, climbing up the cliffs is asking for trouble and quite often ends in cliff rescues or serious injury. From the ground cliffs can look tempting and easy to climb but as you ascend on descend you can quickly become stuck or create a rock slide which could end up crushing lots of people.

Please don’t climb the cliffs. I have seen too many serious injuries, don’t let the next one be you.

Weaver Fish

Weaver fish are quite small and like to sunbath in our shallow waters where it is warmer, to protect themselves they have three spines on their back and if you stand on one you could end up with one or if you are really unlucky, all three of the spines going in to your foot.

 As long as you are not allergic to them, it will feel like standing on a pin, however as there is a poison on the spines it can become more painful over the following few minutes. If you stand on one it is worth getting your foot in hot water (obviously not too hot that you burn yourself). This helps break up the poison.

It also helps to keep the foot moving as much as you can, wiggle those toes or have a run around.

After about 10 to 15 minutes the pain should ease. 

Sun - SLIP SLOP SLAP

Slip on a tee shirt, slop on the sun cream and a slap on a hat...

I’m sure almost everybody reading this will have been caught out by the sun at one point or another and ended up with a red nose or pink shoulders. The coast is certainly one of the most common areas to get caught out. The sun comes out and we all get excited about getting rid of the winter lily look and bare our skin to the world. What we forget is the cool sea air tricks us in to thinking we are not burning until we get home later in the day and are then faced with a beetroot facing back at us in the bathroom mirror.

There are plenty more hazards you can come across on your day at the beach or strolling the coastal footpaths but if you are sensible and think about what you are doing there is no reason why you can’t have a happy and safe day out.

Remember: if you are in doubt about anything ask a Lifeguard. If there is not a Lifeguard around and you get into difficulty call 999 and ask for the coastguard. Always try and stay calm.