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Beach Safety

recommended by SLSA ...

SLSA stands for Surf Life Saving Australia. They put together a list with the following tips:

Swim between the flags...
©2006 Gabriel Ditu
  • Always swim or surf at places patrolled by surf lifesavers or lifeguards.
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags. They mark the safest area to swim.
  • Always swim under supervision or with a friend.
  • Read and obey the signs.
  • Don't swim directly after a meal.
  • Don't swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If you are unsure of surf conditions, ask a lifesaver or lifeguard.
  • Never run and dive in the water. Even if you have checked before, conditions can change.
  • If you get into trouble in the water, don't panic. Raise your arm for help, float and wait for assistance.
  • Float with a current or undertow. Stay calm. Don't try to swim against it. Signal for help and wait for assistance.

the rip...

Rip current
web.mit.edu - rip current
What is a rip? A rip is a strong current running out to sea. Rips cause most accidents. 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.

The following are signs from which you can identify a rip:

  • if the sea is rough and white the rip is where there's a channel of calmer looking water.
  • if the sea is calm, the rip is where there's a channel of rippled water.
  • darker colour, indicating deeper water
  • murky brown water caused by sand stirred up off the bottom
  • waves breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip
  • debris floating out to sea

Note: The lifeguards are usually more experienced than you, therefore try to swim between the flags. That area is the safest.

UV protection...

Sun protection - sunglasses, hat and sunscreen
Do NOT underestimate the power of the Australian sun. What to do:

  • apply on your skin an SPF 30+ sunscreen lotion
  • use sun glasses with high UV protection rating
  • wear a hat
  • cover your body clothes as much as possible
  • go to the beach in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is not as strong

related links...

Surf Life Saving Australia
The Cancer Council Australia
The Australian Health Institute
26 July
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Australian slang
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