Repeated unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune systems suppression and cancer. With the right precautions, you can greatly reduce the chance of developing skin cancer.
80% of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before the age of 18. Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation times. The sun's rays are strongest between 10am and 3pm.
When planning a day at the beach, there are many ways to stay sun aware.
Rip currents are strong currents of water that rush out to sea. They are stronger than even the best swimmers. These currents can swiftly sweep unwary surfers and bodyboarders out to sea.
These rip currents may appear as dark, choppy water. Any time you see debris and foam floating out to sea, chances are you have found a rip current. Avoid the area and if in doubt, don’t go out.
Incoming tides isolate rocks from headlands and the shore. Avoid the temptation of strolling out to a secluded area without knowing when the tide rolls back in. The tide can quickly come in without you realising you’ve been cut off.
Free tide tables are readily available at most beaches or displayed on the lifeguard tower. Stay off rocks and small, enclosed beaches and know when the tide times to avoid getting rescued.
The Ten Commandments of Surf Safety:
Remember FLAGS when at the beach:
F-ind the red and yellow flags and swim between them
L-ook at the safety signs
A-sk a lifeguard for advice
G-et a friend to swim with you
S-tick your hand in the air and shout for help if in difficulty
SLIP on a tee shirt
SLAP on a hat
SLOP on some suncream
KNOW YOUR FLAGS!
Red and yellow beach flag
Lifeguard-patrolled swimming and body boarding zone or lifeguard on duty.
This shows the lifeguarded area and is the safest place to swim and bodyboard.
Black and white chequered beach flag
Surfboard and other water craft zone or zone boundary.
For surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft. Launch and recovery area for kitesurfers and windsurfers. Never swim or bodyboard here.
Red beach flag
Dangerous conditions: do not enter the water.
Signifies a severe hazard, that water conditions are unsafe for swimming and other water activities, and people should not enter the water.
Assume that all cliff edges are unstable. Wet trails or soft sand and earth can make for unstable footing. Rocks can be slippery even when it isn’t raining so keep to paths and avoid walking close to edges in high winds.
Keep back from cliff edges – a slip or trip could be fatal as some cliffs overhang or are unstable. Children and dogs may not see potential dangers – such as cliff edges – especially if they are excited.
Tombstoning is a high-risk activity involving jumping or diving from a height into open water. Water depth alters with the tide; the water may be shallower whilst submerged objects like rocks may not be visible, which can cause serious injury.
The shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away. Don’t let alcohol, drugs or peer pressure affect your judgment. Think before you jump!
Walking on a coastal footpath can be dangerous, especially if it has an overhang. In some places, winter storms and high waves have eroded the shoreline, increasing the chance of collapse and slides.
Play it safe and make sure you wear proper footwear, pay attention to warning signs and stay behind fences and railings. Especially when with small children, stay away from the edge.