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Keeping safe at the beach

beach; safety; swimming; sunburn; drown; safe ;


Where to swim

In Australia we have lots of wonderful beaches.
Some are better for swimming than others.
Many are patrolled beaches, which means that there are lifeguards and surf rescue crews around in case anyone gets into trouble. These are the best places for kids to swim.

Of course it helps if you can actually swim!

swimming Our safe swim campaigns have swimming lessons at all of the public pools and many of the school pools and swimming beaches during the summer school holidays. Look at the Royal Lifesaving site 'Swim and survive' for information on lessons.

Whether you are a beginner or working your way through all the levels of swimming, it is a great idea to go to swimming lessons and learn how to keep yourself safe in water, as well as to have fun.

Safe swimming at the beach

To keep safe you need to remember a few rules:

  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags if it is a patrolled beach.
  • at the beachNever swim alone in case you get into difficulty. No, I'm not just talking about sharks and other possibly dangerous sea creatures. Getting cramp, or being caught by a strong current, or getting washed off rocks cause a lot of people to get into trouble.
  • If you think the sea is too rough, do not go in. You know how good a swimmer you are, and it is being sensible, not chicken, to know when you could be putting yourself and others in danger.
  • If you are doing a longer swim, then swim along the shore line, not out to sea and back - then if you get tired or into difficulty, you have a chance of getting back to shore, or the lifeguard can see you and help you if you need it.
  • Don't swim after dark, as no one can see you if you need help.
  • Don't swim near rocks as you could get bashed into them if a big wave comes.
  • If you hear the siren, or the lifeguards tell you to get out of the water, GET OUT AT ONCE. They know what they are doing and they give their time to keep you safe.

Floating around on a tyre or a blow up mattress can be fun in a swimming pool but isn't a good idea at the beach where you could be dumped by waves or carried out further than you are able to swim back.

 If you want to paddle a canoe or sail a boat, sign up for lessons to make sure you know how to keep safe.

On the water 

Always wear a life jacket (personal flotation device) if you are water skiing or paddling on a board, or a canoe, or out in a boat.

Accidents don't only happen to other people. They could happen to you!!! Wearing a life jacket will keep you afloat until help comes.

What else you can do

Remember the jingle:

sun safe

Let's add a couple more things to it:

drinking water

Drink lots of water
in the shade - stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm (daylight saving hours)
Rest for half an hour after eating
Slop on more sunscreen after you have been in the water
on thongs when you are walking on the sand - sand can be hot enough to burn your feet. Sometimes there may be sharp stones, broken glass or even needles buried in the sand. 

Don't go poking about in rock pools; you could be stung by a jellyfish or nipped by a crab.

Never go fishing by yourself, especially from rocks.
So be safe.

Dr Kate says

Dr KateIf you are swimming or wading at a rocky beach, it's a good idea to wear an old pair of sandshoes or aqua socks to protect your feet from the rocks on your way in and out of the water. Take a bottle of vinegar in your family first aid kit - it's good for taking the pain away if you are stung by something in the water. Wash the area that hurts and then pour vinegar over it to stop the pain. If it is really hurting and you feel unwell go to a doctor.

Our topic 'Sunburn' can give you more information on keeping yourself safe. Going to the beach is great, if you take care of yourself and your friends.

See the Swim and Survive web site.

Also for some fun games about water safety see the Royal Lifesaving web site  

Look at this site to learn about dialling 000. Remember that you only do this in an emergency.

A day at the beach

Wow what good fun.
Swimming and surfing
Out in the sun.
Watch out for the life guard.
Follow the rules.
Outside the flag swimming
Is just for fools.
Slap on the sunscreen
Put on a hat.
Sit in the shade.
Or lie down flat.
A day at the beach
Can be such fun
Take care of yourself
And, "avagoodone!"

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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