Navigating the waters – essential beach and river safety tips

Navigating the waters – essential beach and river safety tips

With the Australian summer inviting crowds to the sun-kissed beaches and tranquil rivers, it’s crucial to prioritise safety while enjoying the water. Understanding the potential risks and knowing how to stay safe can make a world of difference.

Here are some essential tips and resources to ensure secure aquatic adventures this summer.

  1. Know before you go: Before heading to the beach or a river, familiarise yourself with the local conditions, tides, and weather forecasts. Check out websites like Surf Life Saving Australia and RiverSmart for up-to-date information on beach and river safety. These platforms provide valuable insights into current water conditions and hazards.
  2. Stay between the flags: At the beach, always swim between the red and yellow flags. These designated areas are patrolled by lifeguards and indicate the safest spots to swim, free from dangerous currents and rips. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential risks and can assist if you find yourself in trouble.
  3. Beware of rips: Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of water flowing seaward from the shore. If you’re caught in a rip, remain calm and don’t fight against it. Signal for help by raising one arm, and swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the current. Understanding rip current awareness can save lives.
  4. Be cautious in rivers: Rivers, while serene, can hide potential hazards beneath the surface. Strong currents, submerged logs, branches, and rocks pose risks. Always wear a life jacket when kayaking or canoeing. If you find yourself caught in a rapid, lie on your back, feet first, and go with the flow. Avoid standing up in fast-flowing water.
  5. Supervise children: Watch over children diligently, especially near water. Even shallow areas can be risky for inexperienced swimmers. Consider enrolling children in swimming lessons to build confidence and essential water skills.
  6. Alcohol and water don’t mix: Hopewood advocates an alcohol-free life for your overall wellbeing, however we do realise it flows more freely when holiday festivities are in full swing. You should avoid alcohol when swimming or engaging in water activities. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, making accidents more likely. Save the celebrations for after you’re safely back on dry land.
  7. Learn CPR and First Aid: Having basic CPR and first aid knowledge can be invaluable in an emergency. Many organisations offer courses that teach these life-saving skills. Being prepared can make a significant difference while waiting for professional help.

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