Beachgoers warned to be vigilant

2011-12-20 19:21

Johannesburg - A spring tide over the Christmas weekend would result in stronger waves than normal, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) warned on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Craig Lambinon said as part of the NSRI's WaterWise plan, holiday makers should take the following precautions when going to the beach:

-- Children should always be accompanied by an adult, especially when swimming.

-- A place should be prearranged as a meeting spot in case a group or family becomes separated.

-- Memorise the number to call an ambulance, 10177, for emergencies.

-- Go to a beach where life guards are on duty and do not swim in your clothes.

-- Always have sunscreen, a hat, food and water and never swim if you are tired, upset or cold.

-- Be wary of wet rocks since they are within the sea's reach.

-- Look out for big waves as they can take you off your feet, and never turn your back on the sea.

-- Be aware of whether it is high or low tide and never swim alone.

-- Never follow floating or inflatable devices into the sea.

-- Be aware of rip currents. They look like a river flowing out to sea where waves do not break.

Lambinon says if caught in rip current, do not panic and swim against the current. This will only tire you out.

Instead, let the current take you out to sea and tread water or float on your back. Raise an arm and wave to alert people on the beach that you are in trouble.

The further a rip current goes out to sea the weaker it becomes. Swim parallel to the beach, away from the current and use the waves to get back to the beach.

Read more on:    nsri  |  drownings  |  festive season

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