10 by-the-sea safety tips | 1st for Women Insurance
As summer fades and winter begins to make its way across the country, South Africans are taking full advantage of the last few rays of sunshine these holidays. If you’re on a well-deserved beach break, we know you’ll want to make sure you and your loved ones make the most of your leisure time. That’s why we’ve put together these 10 easy tips to stay safe at the beach, so you can get the relaxation you deserve.
1. Leave phones at home
Rather leave your portable possessions, like your phone, at home for a few hours so you can relax without stressing about them. It’s better not to take your purse, either. Instead, take only the cash you need to buy your ice-cream and slap chips; if you lose it, it’s not a big deal.
If you simply have to take your phone with to record your fun holiday memories, look at getting a waterproof pouch that’s designed for swimming.
2. Know the safety basics
A little bit of knowledge goes a long way when it comes to beach safety. First, look out for shark-warning flags. The basics are: green is safe, black is OK, white is that a shark has been spotted so stay out of the water, and red means serious hazards in the water.
It’s also important to stay between the flags when you’re swimming so the lifeguards can keep an eye on you. Also, areas outside the flags may contain dangerous rip currents.
3. Rip current rescue
If you are caught in a rip current, the most important thing to do is remain calm. Swimming against it and towards shore will tire you out. Rather, float and wave and call for help, or swim parallel to the shore until you escape the rip current. Then, you can swim at an angle towards the shore.
4. Spotting someone in danger
Contrary to popular belief, it can be quite difficult to spot someone struggling in water as it happens quickly and quietly. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to remain calm and signal for help if you find yourself in this position.
If you see someone treading furiously, making no sounds, with their head tilted back, and grabbing for something beneath the waves, call a lifeguard immediately; they could be in trouble.
5. Sandcastle fun
Spending time at the beach with the little ones creates such wonderful memories for them. Building sandcastles is great fun for the kids, but be sure to supervise them when they’re digging up sand; shards of glass and other random debris can hurt them.
6. Say no to sunburn
It’s not fun when sunburn holds you back from doing what you want on holiday. Play it safe and apply sunscreen half an hour before you’ll be in the sun, even when it’s overcast, and reapply it at least every two hours. And, don’t forget to apply under your cozzie so you don’t get any sneaky, surprise burns!
7. Under your umbrella
Speaking of keeping safe from the sun, an umbrella will offer the best protection. UVA damage is unseen so, even if you’re not burning, you could still be damaging your skin. Without shade, you also run the risk of getting sunstroke, which is serious.
8. Stay hydrated
It’s easy to forget to get your six to eight glasses of water on a normal day, but because you’re spending time in the sun, it’s even more important to stay hydrated. Pack a few litres of water or make sure to buy when you’re at the beach.
9. Parking pro
Parking bays at the beach fill up quickly. Try get there early so you can get a secure parking near the entrance, and you’ll get a prime spot on the beach, too! If you need to park further away, make sure it’s not in a secluded area – look out for areas where other people are parking, too.
It’s also a good idea to place any valuables you leave in your car out of sight. Criminals will be less likely to go for a car where there is nothing visible to tempt them.
10. Take a buddy
The buddy system is one of the best ways to keep safe at the beach, especially for kids. It’s a lot safer – and more fun – to have someone you can watch out for, and who watches out for you, whether you’re swimming, walking along the sand, or grabbing a bite to eat.
If you’d like more tips and ideas on how to look after yourself and your loved ones these holidays, read our holiday safety tips blog. And remember, if you need emergency home or roadside assistance during the holidays, our 1st for Women Guardian Angels are ready to assist you.
References: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/how-stay-safe-beach-summer; https://www.livingandloving.co.za/child/7-must-know-beach-safety-facts; http://www.plett-tourism.co.za/know-your-shark-warning-flags/; https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/sunscreens-explained