The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has shared their safety tips for this festive season.
They are encouraging the public to be vigilant and to adopt a safety conscious mindset around coastal and inlandswaters.
Keep the following tips in mind when you’re on the beach:
- Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty.
Lifeguards are on duty at selected beaches between 10am and 6pm on weekends and summer holidays. Listen to their advice and talk to them about safety on the beach that you are visiting. If lifeguards are not on duty, do not swim.
- Swim between the lifeguard’s flags.
Teach children that if they swim between the lifeguard’s flags, the lifeguards will be watching them and can help if there is a problem. Lifeguards watch swimmers very carefully – just wave an arm if you need help.
- Don’t swim while drunk
Alcohol and water do not mix. Never drink alcohol and then swim.
- Don’t swim alone. Always swim with a friend.
If you are with a friend while swimming, make sure there is someone who can call for help if you need it. and you can’t wave to the lifeguards or call for help yourself.
- Adult supervision and barriers to water are vital.
Adults who are supervising children in or near water must be able to swim. This is vital if there are no lifeguards on duty. It is extremely dangerous to get into the water to rescue someone. So rather throw something that floats to the person in difficulty and call for help. Children should not be able to get through or over barriers such as pool fences.
- Know how to survive rip currents.
If you swim between the lifeguard flags, they will make sure that you are safe and well away from rip currents. If for some reason this is not possible, do not swim. Educate yourself about rip currents. There is plenty of educational material available online.
- Don’t attempt a rescue by yourself.
Rather call a lifeguard or the NSRI at 112. After calling for help, try and throw something that floats to the person in difficulty such as ball, a foam board and so on.
- Do not let children use floating objects, toys or tyre tubes at the beach or on dams.
You can very quickly get blown away from the shore and as much fun as tubes and styrofoam are, it is easy to fall off them. If a children can’t swim and fall off in deep water, they will drown.
- Do not be distracted by your cell phone or social media.
While you are looking after children in or near water, you need to focus on them and nothing else. Adults who are supervising children should not be distracted or use their cell phone. It is not possible to concentrate on children in the water and be on your phone at the same time.
- Visit a beach that has lifeguards on duty.
Remember that drowning is completely silent. Someone who is drowning will usually not shout for help. They will be vertical in the water (like they are trying to stand or climb stairs) and they will then silently slip under. Listening for children or adults in difficulty is not good enough, you must be watching them very carefully. Make sure that they are not getting in too deep or being moved by currents and swept away from the safe swimming area.
Also ensure that there are appropriate barriers installed at your home.
A small child does not have the strength to lift themselves out of a bucket of water and if they fall into a bucket they will drown. At home make sure that your pool has a child-safe pool cover or net and an approved fence that has a double- locking gate. and can’t be climbed by small children.