Beach safety

Beach safety

Beach safety

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We all love a day at the beach, but fun can easily turn into tragedy if you don’t follow the basic safety rules.

Tragic water accidents in the sea happen quickly, mostly due to a lack of safety knowledge. Understanding the ocean is very important – the more you know about how waves, wind and tides affect conditions in the water, the better able you are to keep yourself safe or even rescue others from danger.
Basic rules to obey

  • Read and obey the beach regulations and follow instructions or advice from lifeguards.
  • Find the flags at the beach and swim between them – the flags mark the safest place to swim.
  • Look at the safety signs – they help you identify potential dangers and daily conditions at the beach.
  • Surf conditions can change quickly, so talk to a surf lifesaver or lifeguard before entering the water.
  • Get a friend to swim with you so you can look out for each other’s safety and get help if needed. Children should always be supervised by an adult.
  • If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm, raise your arm to signal and shout for help. Float with a current or rip − don’t try and swim against it.
  • Swim parallel to the shore if you wish to swim a long distance.
  • Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present. A personal flotation device is recommended for children.
  • Avoid swimming near rocks, piers, jetties and breakwaters.
  • Protect your skin from over exposure to UVA and UVB rays by wearing water-proof sunscreen with a high protection factor of 20+. Avoid the sun between the hottest times of the day, that is 11:00 – 15:00.
  • Wear eye protection, good quality sunglasses protect against UV rays.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly to avoid dehydration even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool and to replace salts lost through perspiration.
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. The body’s temperature can rise too high due to poor sweating. Signs include hot, red and dry skin, rapid and weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing. Move to a cooler place, cool the body down and seek medical help.
  • Do not take glasses, glass bottles or glass containers to the beach as they can break and pose a threat to bare feet.

Remember never to:

  • Swim at un-supervised beaches
  • Swim at night
  • Swim under the influence of alcohol
  • Run and dive into the water
  • Swim directly after a meal
  • Swim alone.

If you and your loved ones obey these basic beach rules you will stay safe and enjoy your seaside holiday.


Beach safety. Retrieved from
How to stay safe at the beach and in the sea. Retrieved from

(Revised by M van Deventer)