Being Safe at The Beach

Elona Peterson By Elona Peterson | 18 November 2020 in Beaches

Learn to swim It is important you and your children are able to swim, even if you are not actively involved in water sports. Unfortunately drowning is New Zealand’s third-highest cause of accidental death: approximately 120 deaths occur each year.

Swimming lessons are available for all ages and levels of ability. Swimming is enjoyable, low impact and one of the best types of exercise available. For more information, contact your local public swimming pool - usually through your local council.

Always supervise children near water Keeping a watch on your children when they’re near water is the single most important precaution you can take. Parents know from experience how quickly children can do something unexpected.

Proper supervision in and around water means a responsible adult keeps young children in their care both within sight and within reach.

At the beach Understanding how waves, wind and tides affect conditions at the beach is vital to keep yourself and others safe from danger. Some beaches in New Zealand are patrolled by surf lifeguards. On patrolled beaches, surf lifeguards put up yellow and red flags. The area between the flags is constantly monitored and is the safest place to swim at the beach. Lifeguards are there to help, so you should always listen to their advice.

Recognising rips

A rip is a strong current of water running out to sea. They can be very dangerous to swimmers as they can sweep you out to sea quickly and easily.

To keep yourself safe, it is important to learn how to recognise rip currents. Typically they appear as calm patches of water with waves breaking on either side.

How to recognise a rip

Other useful tips

  • Never swim alone
  • If in doubt, stay out of the water
  • Know your limits
  • Read and obey the safety signs
  • Never swim or surf when tired or cold
  • Consider other people in the sea
  • If you are in trouble, keep calm and raise your hand in the air. This is the signal to the lifeguards to say ‘I need help’.

For more information about staying safe in the water, Water Safety NZ has a very informative website to help.

Enjoying New Zealand's sunshine

New Zealand’s sun can be very hot between 11am and 4pm during summer, when the ultraviolet rays are fierce, and it doesn’t take long for skin to become burned. Here are some quick tips for staying safe in the sun:

SLIP into a shirt — and SLIP into some shade, especially between 11am and 4pm.

SLOP on some sunscreen before going outdoors. Use an SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen. Wipe it on at least 15 minutes before going outdoors – use approximately one teaspoon of sunscreen for each arm and leg, your body and your face. Reapply every two hours, and also after physical activity, swimming or towel drying.

SLAP on a hat with a brim or a cap with flaps.

WRAP on a pair of sunglasses. Choose close-fitting, wrap-around glasses.

For more information, visit www.sunsmart.org.nz.

This information has been taken from NZ's Government site https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/resources/stay-water-safe

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