Millions of people visit at least one of Australia's beautiful beaches every year. These famous beaches are not only enjoyed by lucky Australians, but also visitors from all over the world some who come for a visit, and others who choose to make Australia their home.
Always swim between the red and yellow flags
When you see red and yellow flags on a beach it indicates that there is currently a lifesaving service operating on the beach. The life savers have chosen a section of the beach that is best for swimming and they will closely supervise this area. Life Savers pay more attention to the area between the red and yellow flags than any other part of the beach.
Read the safety signs
Before you go onto the beach be sure to read the safety signs. This will ensure you are aware of any warnings or dangers on the beach. You can also find other helpful information to make your day at the beach more enjoyable. You might also find single signs placed on the beach to highlight specific warnings
If you need help, stay calm and attract attention
Even the most careful people can find themselves out of their limits. If you are not feeling comfortable in the water and you require assistance by a life saver to get back to shore, stay calm, raise your arm in the air and wave it from side to side. This will attract the attention of a life saver who will be able to come to your assistance. You should conserve your energy by floating on your back and staying calm, this will ensure you have the energy to remain afloat until assistance arrives.
Dangers on our Beach
A rip current, sometimes referred to as a rip, is a moving current of water, sometimes strong or fast flowing. It will usually start near the shoreline and flow away from the beach. It may feel like you are in a fast moving flow of water, like being in a river or you may not notice it at all.
Rip currents are very common on our beach and are often found within 50m either side of our flags. This is why it is very important swimmers stay within the flags at all times.
Rip currents are formed when water pushed ashore by side currents and incoming waves, pools together and funnels back out to sea along the path of least resistance. The more water that moves in with the waves and current the stronger the rip will usually be.
If you are swimming at the beach and find yourself being taken away from the beach and unable to get back, it is more than likely you are caught in a rip current
You can survive rip currents by knowing your options;
- If you need help; the most important thing you can is stay calm, float and not panic.
- Raise an arm to attract attention of life savers.
In most circumstances to escape a rip, swim parallel to the beach, not directly back to shore, as the current will often be too strong to swim against.
Always conserve your energy, the waves can assist you back to the beach.
Size and appearance
Air-filled sac up to 8 centimetres in length, usually with a single, long, blue main fishing tentacle hanging underneath. This may contract to a few centimetres or extend to cover over a metre in length. They often are found on our beach after an onshore wind.
Bluebottles are responsible for up to 10,000 human stings in Australia each summer. Depending on the the amount of body contact stings usually cause a large amount of pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin that normally last 2 or 3 days after the initial sting, though the pain should subside after 20-60 minutes. However, in rare circumstances the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and may cause, depending on the amount of venom, a more intense pain. A sting may lead to an allergic reaction. There can also be serious effects, including fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung function. Medical attention may be necessary, especially if pain persists or is intense, there is an extreme reaction, the rash worsens, a feeling of overall illness develops, a red streak develops between swollen lymph nodes and the sting, or either area becomes red, warm and tender.
Do not rub the sting area.
Adherent blue tentacles may be seen after a sting. Remove any adhering tentacles.
Rinse the area well with sea water (not freshwater).
Place the stung area in hot water - no hotter than the rescuer can comfortably tolerate.
If the pain is unrelieved by heat, or if hot water is not available, apply ice packs.
Send for medical aid if symptoms persist or worsen.
For more information on Bluebottles www.marinestingers.com.au