the summer holidays may be over, but a lot of us still want to relax and have fun at our country's beaches, dams and rivers. However, this festive season has showed us that accidents can happen at any time.
A lot of people have drowned over the holidays. To avoid similar incidents, let’s take a look at these simple safety tips to keep our loved ones safe at the beach.
1. Obey the lifeguard
Lifeguards are the first line of defense when it comes to the safety of people on beaches, so listen to them. Their duty is to protect us from dangerous situations before they even occur.
Also, do not be afraid to ask them about swimming areas, currents, tides or anything you are unsure about.
2. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol consumption on the beach is illegal and dangerous. When you are drunk your judgment and your physicality is impaired. Many drowning victims had consumed alcohol before they went into the water.
3. Know when the lifeguards are on duty
It’s safer to swim when the lifeguards are on duty, just in case an accident happens. If there aren't any lifeguards, make sure there are other people nearby who can phone the National Sea Rescue Institute, or ambulance if anything goes wrong.
4. Swim with a friend
So you can keep an eye out for each other. And tell other people when you go into the water so that they know to look out for you.
5. Always swim between the red and yellow flags
These flags indicate supervised and safe swimming areas. Areas outside these flags might be dangerous. Also, only swim in areas where other people are present.
6. Do not swim at night
At night visibility is bad, so if something goes wrong rescue services will have a hard time finding and helping you. It will also be easy to overlook rocks, seaweed, netting and other potentially dangerous objects in the water.
For more information on keeping safe at the beach visit the Western Cape Government page.