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Safety tips for the beach this summer

Jeffreys Bay is gearing up for the December holiday season and its expected to be a bumber season with families already descending upon the world famous beach town.

Main Beach will be packed with tourists and locals alike and lifeguards will be patrolling the Blue Flag section known as Dolphin Beach.

Pellsrus Beach will also be secured by Kouga lifeguards, as well Aston Bay, Paradise Beach and Kabeljous.

Make sure you stay safe this summer by following these tips:

1.        Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty.

Lifeguards are on duty at selected beaches between 10am and 6pm on weekends and during the week during summer school holidays. Listen to their advice and talk to them about safety on the beach that you are visiting. They are the experts on that beach. If lifeguards are not on duty do not swim.

2.        Swim between the lifeguard’s flags.

Teach children that if they swim between the lifeguards flags the lifeguards will be watching them and can help if there is a problem. Lifeguards watch swimmers very carefully between the flags – just wave an arm if you need help.

3.        Don’t drink alcohol and then swim.

4.        Don’t swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.

If you are with a buddy while swimming there is someone who can call for help if you need it and you can’t wave to the lifeguards or call for help yourself.

5.        Adult supervision and barriers to water are vital.

Adults who are supervising children in or near water must be able to swim. This is vital if it is at a water body that does not have lifeguards on duty.

It is extremely dangerous to get into the water to rescue someone so rather throw something that floats to the person in difficulty and call for help (112 from a cell phone and check for the nearest Sea Rescue station telephone number before you visit a beach – put that number into your cell phone).

Children should not be able to get through or over barriers such as pool fences to water. Only use child safe pool fences and child safe pool covers or nets.

6.        Know how to survive rip currents.

If you swim between the lifeguard flags they will make sure that you are safe and well away from rip currents. If for some reason this is not possible do not swim. Educate yourself about rip currents, there is plenty of educational material here http://www.nsri.org.za/2017/01/beware-of-rip-currents/  including videos of what rip currents look like.

7.        Don’t attempt a rescue yourself.

Call a lifeguard or the NSRI by dialling 112 from your cell phone for help. If you see someone in difficulty call a lifeguard at once or dial the nearest Sea Rescue station from your cell phone. You should put this number into your phone before you go to the beach – get the emergency numbers for NSRI here http://www.nsri.org.za/emergency-numbers/ or you can Google for the closest NSRI station emergency number.

112 is a good emergency number – for any emergency – to dial from your cell phone. After calling for help try and throw something that floats to the person in difficulty. A ball, a foam surf board and so on.

8.        Watch children who are using floating objects, toys or tire tubes at the beach or on dams very carefully. Never use these if the wind may blow them away from the shallow water.

You can very quickly get blown away from the shore and as much fun as tubes and Styrofoam are it is easy to fall off them. If a child can’t swim and falls off in deep water they will drown.

9.        Do not be distracted by your cell phone or social media.

While you are looking after children in or near water you need to focus on them and nothing else. Adults who are supervising children should not be distracted or use their cell phone.

It is not possible to concentrate on children in the water and be on your phone at the same time.

10.    Learn how to do CPR. Have the emergency numbers saved in your phone.

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