Beach culture is a major part of Australian life, however, not everyone is aware of the dangers associated with being around water or water safety measures.
Unfortunately, an average of 42 cases of costal drownings occur on Australian beaches every year. Around 82 percent of coastal drownings are men. Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) volunteers performed 4,377 rescues last year thanks to the 663,607 volunteer patrol hours they provided on NSW beaches.
Surf Life Saving NSW is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to save lives, enhance water safety and build better communities. It is reaching out to equip students with the confidence, knowledge, resources and tools to prevent drownings and to create safe, fun, welcoming and enjoyable beachside experiences.
To be able to enjoy your beach experience while remaining safe, SLSNSW advises that you always remember ‘FLAGS’.
F: Find the red and yellow flags and swim between them. If there are no red and yellow flags, it means the beach is closed and you should not swim.
L: Look for safety signs around the beach. Lifesavers will display these signs to inform you about the condition of the beach on the day.
A: Ask a lifesaver. Lifesavers can help you with anything, starting from first-aid, finding lost people, rescues and any general beach questions. They are there to help, so don’t hesitate to ask.
G: Go swim with a friend. It’s dangerous to swim alone, as you might get into trouble in the water, but there will not be anyone to call for help. If you have a friend with you, they can call a lifesaver to come and help you.
S: Signal for help. If you get into trouble in the water, put your hands up, straight into the air, and wave your full arm back and forth to attract the attention of surf lifesavers.
It is also important to avoid sunburn. Before you go out in the sun, please apply a 50+ sunscreen. Sunburn causes skin blisters that will sting and can have serious implications on your health. Therefore, always remember to apply sunscreen, wear a hat, sunglasses and some clothes, stay in the shade and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you’re interested in rock-fishing, there are a few things you need to do to stay safe. Before fishing, observe the rock fishing area for at least 15 minutes until you’re familiar with the area and the weather condition. Read and follow the displayed warning signs around the rock fishing area. Don’t forget to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) such as Life Jacket, as well as light clothes, and shoes with non-slip soles. Always go rock fishing with a friend, never go alone.
Last but not least, enjoy the water and stay safe!