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Be safe at the beach

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Date: December 27, 2015
Kids at the beach
If you are planning for a day at the beach, your list of items will likely include swimming costumes, towels, a lot of sunscreen and some sand buckets if you are bringing the little ones. All these are important for a happy day at the beach, but what’s even more important is making sure that your loved ones are all safe. If you are going out to the coast with the kids, you are their most important line of defence.  Therefore you will have little or no time to work on your tan. Here are some few considerations to keep you and your family safe at the beach.

Do not underestimate the ocean
The water may seem calm but it can get rough in an instant. Check the conditions before entering the water, check if any warning flags are up, speak to a lifeguard about the water conditions and whether it is safe to swim.

Know your swimming limits and be cautious
This is definitely not the time for checking how good your butterfly stroke is, leave that for the pool. If the water seem too rough for you, then it probably is. Stay safe and don’t venture too far. 
Whether you are familiar with the beach or not, water currents are unpredictable. Always check the water and be careful of water that is free of other swimmers - there is always a reason for that.

Swim closer to the shore and where you can be seen.
Hobie Beach Port Elizabeth
It’s always better to swim along the shoreline so you can easily get back to ground if you feel tired or encounter a problem. Avoid swimming into deeper waters, swimming alone and swimming after dark where and when no one can see you.

Remain vigilant
Don't just rely on lifeguards; you should always keep a constant eye on your family. It’s not just the sharks you should be worried about; slipping on rocks, getting caught in strong currents or being stung by a jelly fish are all more common and can cause panic that lead to drowning.

Know when someone is in trouble. 
Always ask to be sure “Are you alright?” If you don't get a clear answer, get closer to check if all is well.  As for kids, parents know that when they play they make noise and when you don't hear the noise, you need to quickly find out why. Should someone be in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If they are not available, throw the person something that floats – a cooler box, inflatable ball or life jacket. Please remember that drowning is almost always a quiet event and not the noisy, splashing, violent and dramatic call for help we always see on TV. When someone drowns, the most important thing for them is breathing - shouting for help and waving hands is secondary as they struggle for oxygen. 

Should you find yourself in trouble, try not to panic. Panicking will make it worse and easier to go under the water.
Always respect Mother Nature and don’t take anything for granted. If you are with kids, stay with them and be on the lookout all the time. Anyone can be a victim, even the best of swimmers.

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