With the grim reality of events along the UK’s coastline last week, where tragically 6 lives were lost, we wanted to highlight once again, the issue of beach safety. Here are some guidelines from Holywell Bay’s Head Lifeguard, Lee Griffin on how to stay safe this summer.
FLAGS: Always swim or bodyboard between the red and yellow flags. Surfers should stay between the black and white chequered flags. A red flag signifies highly dangerous conditions and it is strongly advised to stay out of the sea altogether.
RIP CURRENTS: Rips are strong currents that can quickly take swimmers from the shallows to beyond their depth in minutes. Keeping between the red and yellow flags, usually means you will avoid them, but if you do find yourself caught up in one, firstly try and stay calm. If you can stand, wade don’t swim and if you have a board or inflatable, keep hold of it, raise your hand and shout for help. If you’re out of your depth, paddle or swim parallel to the beach. Look for waves that are breaking all the way to the shore and make your way in. Never try to swim against a rip.
INFLATABLES: Never use inflatables when there is an off-shore wind (when it’s blowing from the land out to sea). If using inflatables, it’s advised to have a long rope attached.
TIDES: Be aware that tides can move very quickly and if incoming, they can cut you off. Take care when exploring rockpools and caves, particularly on the south end of Holywell Bay beach.
CHILDREN: Children are safest when supervised and it’s best to agree on a meeting point, should you get separated. If this is the case, let a lifeguard or the police know. When children are found, let searchers know.
JUMPING: Never go jumping off the rocks into the sea. Water depth changes with tides and it can be shallower than you think. Rocks may not be visible and there may also be strong currents.
Follow these guidelines and use your common sense and you will be able to enjoy the beach safely.