Safety in the surf at Sydneys and Australias beaches
Probably most people have heard of
dangerous and scary things one might come across when travelling in
Australia. However it's important for our Sydney Austrialia hotels visitors to keep things in perspective. There are highly publicised dangers like:
Deadly "Sea Wasp" box jellyfish
The deadly "Sydney Funnel-Web spider"
While its sensible for Sydney
Austrialia hotels visitors to be aware of these creatures in their natural habitats, some other more common hazards are worth keeping in mind.
The following message is based on the surf safety advice of the surf life saving association.
Visit their excellent website packed with information about sydneys beaches.
If you are not used to swimming or to the surf, entering the water, even
on the shoreline can be extremely dangerous. Deep channels near the shore and
strong currents can quickly occur, taking you by surprise. Unless you are
absolutely confident of your swimming ability, you should keep out of the water.
Even if you are a strong swimmer, and you decide to swim, you can still misjudge
the unfamiliar conditions of the surf.
Most of Sydneys and Australias ocean surfing beaches are patrolled by the
lifesavers from the Surf Life Saving Association, an organisation of dedicated
volunteers. When the beach is safe for swimming, you will see two yellow
and red flags on the beach. You should swim only between these flags
because this is the safe swimming area and other parts of the beach may have
dangerous currents that can quickly carry you out into deep water far from the
beach. The lifesavers watch the people in the water between the flags to give help if needed.
If you are caught in one of the currents called a "Rip" or Undertow" you might
panic, thinking that the current could carry you away far out to sea.
However, these currents are usually like a narrow river of moving water, flowing
from the beach out to beyond the line of breakers where they gradually slow
down. They are part of the natural flow of water around the beach system, where
the breaking waves push water towards the beach, and the "rips" allow the water
to flow back out, usually in deep channels where the waves will not break.
Surfboard riders use the "rips" to get quickly out to the breaking waves.
If you are caught in a "rip" DO NOT PANIC but stay calm and consider your
position. If you can, swim out of the "narrow river" of the rip by swimming
towards the beach at an angle of 45 degrees to the flow of water in the rip.
The idea is to swim across the flow toward the sides of the rip
where the water is not moving out.
If you panic, your instinct will be to swim towards the beach, against the flow
of the water.
You cannot swim to safety this way as you will tire quickly, long before you can
make any progress.
You may have to swim only a fairly short distance across the flow of the rip to get out of fast
moving water. Then you should swim parallel to the beach for 30 metres or so to get away from the rip area, and then swim back to the beach, helped
by the breaking waves.
If you feel that you will need help, again, DO NOT PANIC, but tread water
or float and go with the flow of the water while facing the beach and wave your arms in the air and shout to signal to the
lifesavers that you need help. When the lifesavers see that you are asking for help they will quickly come out and rescue
Remember, if there are NO FLAGS, on the beach, there are NO LIFESAVERS to rescue
you if you get into difficulties! ALWAYS SWIM ONLY BETWEEN THE FLAGS. This is
the area the lifesavers are watching. ALSO, NEVER SWIM IF YOU ARE ALONE ON THE BEACH. NEVER SWIM AFTER TAKING DRUGS OR ALCOHOL.