Dangers at the Beach
For most of us, visiting the beach brings up memories of ice cream, sand castles, and volleyball; but for some it’s a reminder of just how dangerous the oceans can be.
Over 7000 people rely on the services of the RNLI every year, however, on average 65 people still perish in the water before help can reach them. With more and more families planning to visit the beach each year, an understanding of beach safety is as important as ever to both parents and their children.
Rip tides are responsible for most of the calls to the RNLI, when swimmers have been known to be swept out to sea in depths that barely reach their kneecaps. So learning how to avoid or swim out of a rip current is especially important. When people are caught out, it is usually because they haven’t checked the tidal times and have strayed too far from the safe zone.
Many calls to emergency services are from people stuck on beaches that have been surrounded by the incoming tide. Tide times should be checked online before heading to the beach, but remember to also take into account the geography of the landscape. Rock pools and caves are easily cut off when incoming tides spill into their crevices, and often with little or no warning.
Everything from shark attacks to lightning strikes can have potentially fatal consequences, so it is always a good idea to check if the beach you are visiting has a lifeguard. Trained to swim 200m in less than 3.5 minutes, lifeguards are more than capable of swimming to the rescue.
Check out our beach safety infographic to learn about the often unseen dangers of visiting a beach. It contains potentially lifesaving information on hazard prevention and what to do when caught in a life-threatening situation.